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(St. Andrews University) 
Minister at Westerdale, Caithness 


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f£? \3 -S\ 

Work wisely and take heed to the end : Be valiant 



William Rae, 


K\t\i and K»in 
at .Home and JIbroad 







Preface --------- 

Introductory - - - - 

Memoirs of : — 

I. IveMacEth, b. 1210 c. - - -85 
IL IyeMor, m. 1263 c. f 

III. Donald, c. 1300-30 - - - - - - " *1 

IV. lye, 1330-70 - - ** 

V. Donald, k. 1370 - - - "™ 

VI. Angus, 1370-1403 - ' ' ' ' ' I, 

VII. Angus Du, H03-33 ------- oi 

VIII. Neil Vass, 1433-50 - " »* 

IX. Angus Eov, c. 1460-86 ------ 67 

X. lye Roy, 1486-1517 ------- 'J* 

XI. 1. John Mackav, 1517-29 - - '» 

XI.2. Donald Mackay, 1529-50 - - " °» 

XII. IyeDu, 1550-72 - - - - -9* 

XIII. Huistean Du, 1572-1614 i„I 

XIV. Donald, 1st Lord Eeay, 1614-49 - - - 125 
XV. John, 2nd Lord Eeay, 1649-80 ----- 144 

XVI. Donald, Master of Eeay, d. 1680 - - - 159 

XVII. George, 3rd Lord Eeay, 1680-1748 - - - - 163 

XVIII. Donald, 4th Lord Eeay, 1748-61 - - - 195 

Addendum : Eob Donn ------ 20a 

XIX.l. George, 5th Lord Eeay, 1761-68 - - - -211 

XIX.2. Hugh, 6th Lord Eeay, 1768-97 - - - 216 

XIX.3. Eric, 7th Lord Eeay, 1797-1847 - - 22o 

XIX.4. Alexander, 8th Lord Eeay, 1847-63 - - - - 234 

XX. Eric, 9th Lord Eeay, 1863-75 - - 236 

Addendum : A closing chapter ----- -ao 

Genealogical Accounts of the : — 

I. Aberach Mackays - - ji -' 

Addendum : The Aberach-Mackay banner - - - - 269 

II. Scoury Mackays ------- 286 

III. Binhouse Mackays ------- 302 

IV. Strathy Mackays - " 31 ° 
V. Melness Mackays - - - - 32 1 



VI. Sand wood Mackays ------- 329 

VII. Dutch Mackays ------- 339 

VIII. Swedish Mackays, now von Key - 343 

IX. Galloway Mackays 347 

X. Argyle and Western Mackays ........ 360 

XL Other branches of the family of Mackay - - - 363 

Appendix of Documents : — 

1. Charter to Gilchrist M'Cav of lands in Kintyre, 1329 - - 370 

2. Charter to Ferchard of Melness, 1379 - - - - - 370 

3. Charter to do. ,1386 371 

4. Gaelic charter to Brian Vicar Mackay of lands in Isla, 1408 - 372 

5. Charter to Angus of Strathnaver, 1415 - 375 

6. Instrument upon a Precept to lye Mackay, 1497 - - - 376 

7. Charter to Odo Mackay of the lands of Diked, 1499 - - 379 

8. Gift of non-entry to lye Mcky, 1504 ----- 380 

9. Charter to lye Mcky of the lands of Melness, 1511 - - 381 

10. A Bond of friendship, 1517 - • - - - - - 384 

11. A Bond of friendship, 1518 - ------ 385 

12. A Bond of friendship, 1522 - ------ 387 

13. Charter to Donald of Strathnaver, 1539 - 3SS 

14. Sasine to do. ,1540 - - - - 391 

15. Charter to Mackay's spouse, 1545 393 

16. Charter to Ewir McCay of lands in Kintyre, 1542 - - 394 

17. Substance of a letter, 1538 ...... 395 

18. Substance of a letter, 1538 ------- 395 

19. Substance of a charter, 1540 ------ 395 

20. Gift of an escheat to Donald Mackay, 1542 - 396 

21. A Bond of friendship, 1549 ----- - 3^7 

22. Remission to lye Makky of Farr, 1562 ----- 3W 

23. A Contract and Agreement, 1570- ----- 399 

24. Charter by Huntly to Mackay, 1570 - - 406 

25. Discharge by Hum ly to Mackay, 1571 - - 406 

26. Sasine to lye Makky, 1571 - ' - - - - - - 408 

27. Charter to Makghie of Balmagie, 1587- - - - - 411 

28. Charter to Mackay Forbes of Farr, 1 60S - - - - 412 

29. Remission to Donald McKy, 1614 413 

30. Tack of teinds by the Bishop of Caithness, 1615 - - 414 

31. Charter to M'Cay crowner of North Kintyre, 1615 - - 417 

32. Charter of the Little Isles of Strathnaver, 1624 - - - 418 

33. Substance of Charter of the lands of Roay, etc., 1628 - - 418 

34. Patent of Nobility to Lord Keay, 1628- - - - - 419 

35. Extract from a letter by the 1st Lord Reay, 1637 - - - 421 

36. Extract from Sir R. Gordon's Farewell Letter, 1627 - 422 

37. Marital contract by Munro of Fowlis, 1635 - - 425 



38. Resignation by Seaforth of the wadset of Skelpick, 1637 - 428 

39. Erection of the parish of Kintail (now Tongue), 1638 - - 429 

40. A Bond of friendship, 1639 - - 431 

41. Letter by John, 2nd Lord Reay, 1654 ----- 433 

42. Articles of Agreement between Reay and Monck, 1655 - - 434 

43. Tack of teinds by the Bishop of Caithness, 1665 - 436 

44. A Bond of friendship, 1672 - ------ 439 

45. Letters of Fire and Sword to Lord Reay, 1668 - - - 440 

46. Disposition by Munlo Mcky in Carnach, 1681 - 441 

47. Disposition to the Master of Reay, 1710 - - - - 442 

48. Extract from letter by Reay on glebe of Fair, 1718 - - 443 

49. Document regarding the new erections in Strathnaver, 1724 - 444 

50. Letter of the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, 1724 - 446 

51. A Minute of the Presbytery of Tongue, 1731 - - - 447 
51a.Letter by Lord Reay to the Sheriff of Caithness, 1733 - - 448 

52. Letter by Lord Reay to the Earl of Sutherland, 1745 - - 450 

53. A Bond of friendship, 1745 - - 451 

54. Address of congratulation to the Duke of Cumberland, 1746 - 453 

55. Letter by Lord Reay anetit the Highlands, 1746 - - - 456 

56. Tack of the Reay estate to Mackay of Bighouse, 1756 - - 457 

57. Description of the Reay estate, 1797 ----- 4G0 

58. Survey of roads in the four northern counties, 1790-99 - - 463 

59. Letter by Mrs. Mackay of Skerray, 1817 - - - 465 

60. Extract from a letter by Mr. Pat. Sellar, 1819 - - - 466 

61. Report regarding sub tenants on Kinloch, 1819 - 467 

62. Disposition of sale of the Reay estate, 1829 - 469 

63. Rent-roll of the Reay estate, 1678 - - - - - 471 

64. Rent-roll of the Reay estate, 1789 - - 475 

65. Rent roll of the Bighouse estate, 1819 480 

Additions and Corrections- - 483 

Index ------------ 485 

List of Subscribers --------- 489 

Plates : — 

Portrait of Donald James, 11th Lord Reay - - Frontispiece 

Castle Varrich and Ben Loyal ----- to face 60 

Coloured arms of Mackay in 1503 - ,,77 

Coloured arms of the 1st Lord Reay - - - 
Portrait of General Hugh Mackay of Scoury - 
Portrait of Lieut.-General the Hon. Alexr. Mackay - 
Monument to Lieut. -Col. George Mackay of Bighouse 
Portrait of the 10th Lord Reay - 
Portrait of Donald Mackay, tacksman of Melness 
Portrait of the Rev. Jas. Abeiigh Mackay, D.I). 




Portrait of John Mackay V. of Strathy - to face 312 

Portrait of Andrew Mackay, LL.D. 
Portrait of Mrs. Louisa Mackay of Bighouse 
Portrait of Baron Aeneas Mackay, Hague 
Portrait of Alexr. McGhie of Airds - 
Portrait of Colonel John M'Kie of Bargaly 



Illustrations : — 

Chapter seal of the church of Caithness 38 

Aberach Mackay arms -------- 242 

The Aberach Mackay banner ------- 275 

Kirkton Stone, Strathhalladale ----.. 279 

A Durness tombstone -...,.-. 281 

Stone in Tongue House -------- 283 

Arms of General Mackay of Scoury- - 286 

Shield of Mackay of Bighouse ------- 302 

Bookplate of Mackay of Strathy - - - - - - 310 

Arms of Baron Barthold Mackay ------ 339 

Arms of M'Ghie of Balmaghie- --.... 347 

Arms of M'Kie of Larg - 352 

The Minnigatf stone - ....... 354 

Pedigree Tables : — 

Table A : The Mackays of Strathnaver 97 

Table B : The Mackays of Strathnaver, now Barons Keay - 197 

A Map of Caithness, Strathnaver, and Sutherland - - to face 488 




Y 7" HE plan adopted in this work is to gather the general history in the 
1 form of memoirs around the names of the various chieftains of 
Strathnaver. This is followed by genealogical accounts of the 
principal families of Mackay ; and these again are followed by an 
appendix of documents taken for the most part from the hitherto 
unpublished family papers of the Mackays of Strathnaver, later Lords of 
Reay. To those who take an interest in our northern history, social 
development, or place-names, the Reay Papers should prove of no little 
value. How I stumbled upon them is told at page 2. 

Although the idea of writing this book was not seriously entertained 
until after the discovery of the Reay Papers in 1900, I began to 
accumulate material, genealogical and otherwise, as early as 1878, when a 
student at St. Andrews University. After my settlement at Westerdale, 
the distance from a large library was felt, but I generally managed to get 
a fortnight's holiday to Edinburgh each year, and spent it working at the 
Advocates' Library ; while kind friends in the south very generously lent 
rue from time to time books of reference for study at home. In this 
fashion the pile of notes continued to grow year by year. 

I am deeply indebted to Lord Reay, Chief of Mackay, and to the Rev. 
Dr. James Aberigh Mackay, Chieftain of the Aberach Mackays, for their 
encouragement generally, and particularly for their influential letters 
commending this work, which appeared in the prospectus issued soliciting 
subscribers. The list of subscribers printed at the end of the book owes 
not a little of its length to these two letters. At the same time, members 
of the Clan all over the world, as soon as they learned what I was about, 
vied with one another in backing me up, and did their utmost to secure 
subscribers to the Book of Mackay. To one and all I extend my 
warmest thanks. 

To the following I am indebted for the loan of reference books and 
MSS., viz., Sheriff Aeneas Mackay, K.C., LL.D., Edinburgh ; Colonel 



Forbes Mackay of Carskey ; Dr. George Mackay, Edinburgh ; James 
Macdonald, Esqr., W.S., Edinburgh ; Rev. W. Hall Telford, Reston ; 
Thomas Middlemore, Esqr. of Melsetter ; William Mackay, Esqr., 
solicitor, Inverness ; A. N. Macaulay, Esqr., solicitor, Golspie ; John 
Mackay, Esqr., editor of the Celtic Monthly, Glasgow ; and the Rev. J. 
Lunclie, Tongue. 

Thanks are also due to the following for the use of portraits and 
illustrations, viz., Lord Reay ; Rev. Dr. J. Aberigh Mackay ; the Council 
of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland ; Messrs J. Maxwell & Son, 
Dumfries; Dr. Norman J. M'Kie, Newton Stewart; Mrs. Webster, 
Helensburgh; Provost A. Y. Mackay, Grangemouth; James F. Mackay, 
Esqr., W.S., Edinburgh ; Donald Mackay, Esqr., solicitor, Thurso ; 
Duncan Mackay, Esqr., Cheltenham ; Miss Scobie, Durness ; Mrs. Geddie, 
Halkirk ; and Mrs. W .Brims, Thurso. The portraits facing pages 220 and 
312 are from paintings by Reynolds, that facing page 332 is by Raeburn, 
while that facing 172 is by one of the Dutch masters. 

I take this opportunity of thanking the officials in charge of the 
following Edinburgh libraries for their great courtesy to me, viz., The 
Advocates', Signet, University, and Public; nor must I forget to thank 
the keeper of the Sasine Register at the Register House. I also 
congratulate Mr. Rae, printer, Wick, on the work which he has turned 
out for me. 

And last, but not least, I owe more to my wife than I care to say, for 
she laboriously corrected all the proof-sheets as they issued from the 
press. Notwithstanding our united pains, however, a few errors have 
crept into the text, but the more important are pointed out and corrected 
at page 483. As this is my first serious attempt at book writing, and as 
I had to work in a secluded northern valley, far away from libraries, I 
venture to crave the indulgence of my readers in view of any defects. If 
the perusal of these pages gives to some readers a little of the pleasure 
and the instruction which their preparation gave to me, then the book 
has not been written in vain. 


United Fkee Church Manse, 
Westekdai.e, Caithness, 





WE must at the outset express our great indebtedness to 
the indefatigable labours in this field of Mr. Robert 
MacKay, whose History of the House and Clan of 
MacKay was published in 1829. His genealogical account 
of the various branches of the MacKay family, though somewhat 
brief and lacking in dates, is wonderfully accurate so far as it goes. 
When he wrote the field of Highland family history was practically 
fallow, and he had to pick his way over the ground very much under 
the guidance of Sir Robert Gordon, whose partisan spirit often 
roused his ire. Since then things are very much altered. Various 
valuable books have been compiled, and many important old books 
in MS. have been published, shedding light upon our subject. 
National documents, which could then be only consulted in MS. 
either at Edinburgh or London, may now be studied fit any good 
public library in the printed form, and with most helpful indices. 
AVith the comparatively scanty material at his disposal, Mr. Robert 
MacKay produced a book which does him credit, and which has 
often helped us over a difficulty. 

As we were collecting information for many years past regarding 


our northern history, the theory growingly possessed us that Erie, "th 
Lord Iteay, who sold the lands of MacKay in 1829, must have left 
family documents of historical interest, and that, as he died unmarried, 
these papers might lie in the hands of his factors or lawyers. We 
brought this theory to the notice of ..Eneas MacKay, LL.D., lately 
Sheriff of Fife, who encouraged us to prosecute our search, and 
made some helpful suggestions. Acting upon his advice, we followed 
up certain clues without discovering anything of importance. In 
the spring of 1900, just as we were about to consult the Edinburgh 
Register House, in order to find out if possible who acted for Lord 
Reay about the time that he sold the estate, we chanced to discuss 
the matter with a member of our congregation, at one time a clerk in 
an Edinburgh lawyer's office. This gentleman, to our surprise and 
delight, straightway informed us that in the vaults of the office where 
he had served there were two large boxes with the painted inscrip- 
tion, " Lord Reay," containing documents bearing upon the north, 
as he had verified for himself during an idle hour. 

With this piece of information we set out for Edinburgh, and 
reported the matter to Sheriff MacKay, who consulted the firm in 
question, and discovered that our information was correct. Eventu- 
ally, through the sheriffs influence, the two boxes were entrusted 
to us for perusal, and but a little examination served to show that 
they were the Reay Charter Chests, or at least a portion of them. 
The documents include charters and copies of charters, bonds of 
friendship, records of transfers of lands, marriage settlements, 
wadsetts, rent-rolls, etc. There are unfortunately very few private 
letters among them. They are referred to in the following pages as 
Reay Papers. 

Mr. Thomas Middlemore of Melsetter, in Orkney, and of Hawkes- 
ley, near Birmingham, very kindly put at our disposal for the purposes 
of this work an elaborate Search of Sasines, Deeds, Testaments, etc., 
pertaining to Sutherlandshire, and having special reference to such 
as bore the name MacKay in that county, executed for him by the 


well-known antiquarian, the Rev. Walter Macleod, Edinburgh. To 
the genealogist this is an invaluable compilation, which we should 
gladly see published for the benefit of future writers of our northern 

Through the influence of a Sandwood MaeKay — Dr. George 
MacKay, F.R.C.S.E., Edinburgh— Colonel A. Forbes MaeKay of 
Carskcy very generously entrusted to us the Blackcastle MS. book, 
extending to 574 foolscap pages, compiled by the Colonel's grand- 
father, Mr. Alexander MacKay, F.S.A., of Blackcastle, near 
Edinburgh, and finished in 1832. In the following pages it is 
referred to as the Blk. MS. It gives a succinct historical and 
genealogical account of the Strathnavcr Mackays, together with a 
genealogical account of its cadet branches. Mr. MacKay of Black- 
castle had access to the family papers of Eric, 7th Lord Reay, the 
title deeds of the MacKays of Bighouse and the MacKays of Strathy, 
some papers in Dunrobin and Thurso Castles bearing on the history 
of the MacKays, from all of which he made voluminous extracts. By 
far the larger part of the book is taken up with these interesting 

Mr. Mackay of Blackcastle had also an old family MS. history, 
which apparently belonged to the Reay family, and which he worked 
into his history of that family, but unfortunately it is not now 
among the Reay Papers. Its chief interest lay in that it gave a 
very different account of the early genealogy of the MacKays from 
that given by Sir Robert Gordon. Sir Robert says that a certain 
Walter Forbes was progenitor of the MacKays, but the Blk. MS. 
derives them from Malcolm mac Eth, Earl of Ross. Of this we shall 
have more to say. In the House and Clan of MacKay the early 
genealogy of Sir Robert is accepted, and no reference is made to this 
old MS. account ; but neither is there any reference made to, or use 
made of, the Reay Papers. It does not seem that Eric Lord Reay 
gave much, if any, assistance to the author of the House and Clan 
of MacKay by setting at his disposal family papers, and the reason 


is not far to seek. MacKay's history appeared in 1829, the very 
year in which Lord Reay sold his Highland estates ; and as his 
Lordship was making arrangements some years previous to this for 
selling the same, all his family papers were in the hands of law agents. 
It was after his estate had been sold and MacKay's history had 
appeared that Lord Eric consulted Mr. MacKay of Blackcastle, and 
gave him the Reay Papers to peruse. 

Mr. John MacKay of Herrisdale, commonly known as "Ben 
Reay," author of An Old Scots Brigade, etc., had a strong desire to 
write a history of MacKay, but old age and frail health prevented 
him from carrying out his purpose. His papers are also placed at 
our disposal, but they are for the most part mere scraps, with the 
exception of his genealogical account of the Mackays of Melness, to 
which branch he belonged himself. In our account of the said family 
we follow " Ben Reay " closely, but add a considerable amount of 
new matter discovered by ourselves in the Reay Papers. We have 
also been studying this subject for some years, and, however imperfect 
the following pages may be, we have made a careful search of the 
public records and read as widely as our limited opportunities and 
means permitted. 


An examination of the public record shows that the name Mac- 
Kay was spelt in a great variety of ways. The Strathnaver or 
northern MacKays appear as Makky, Macky, Maky, Mckye, Mckeye, 
Maekie, Mckie, Mackey, but the commonest form was McKy. The 
Islay MacKays, whose Charter in Gaelic, of eleven and a half merk 
lands from Macdonald of the Isles in 1408, is well known, appear as 
McCei, McAy, etc. The MacKays of Garachty in Bute, one of whom, 
John McGe, witnessed a document, 10th Mar. 1540, as Sheriff of 
Bute, appear as Makkay, Makkee, and even Makcawe, but for oftenesfc 
they are represented, from 151.5 downwards, as Mackaw. The Mac- 
7 „ ir , Kays of Ugadale, who were crowners of north Kintyre from time 

Reg. Mag. Sig. 


immemorial, held of the Lords of the Isles as is stated in a charter of 
confirmation by the King, given 11th Aug. 1542, and possessed of 
the four merk lands of Ugadale and Arnigill in virtue of their office, 
appear as McKey, MaKKay, MaKKaye, but most commonly as 
McCay. The Galloway MacKays, of whom there were various 
families holding a considerable amount of land in Wigton, Kirkcud- 
brightshire, etc., such as Camlodane, Balgarne, Craichlo, Mertoun, 
Balmagee, etc., appear as Makke, Makee, Makge, Makgee, Makgie, 
McGie, McGhie, and Mackghie, but towards the close of the 16th 
century they appear generally as McKie and McGhie. 

MacKay represents in English the Gaelic name MacAoidh, a 
compound of mac (son), and Aoidh the genitive of the proper name 
Aodh. Aodh frequently appears in the literature of the Gael as the 
name of Picts, Scots, and Irish ; but its present aspirated form indi- 
cates a harder formation, aed, which indeed is found in earlier Irish 
writings, and is supposed to mean " the fiery or impetuous one." Gaelic Err. 

. . . Dictionary-. 

Some authorities have equated Aodh with Hugh, but we do not 
accept that view, as Hugh, which stands for the Gaelic Huistean, is 
generally represented in Latin documents by Hugo, while Aodh is 
transformed into Odo or Odoneus. Nay more, there are various 
instances in which two brothers may be found, the one called Aodh 
and the other Hugh, as, for example, the family of Donald 1st Lord 
Reay, whose first and third sons were so named respectively. This 
shows that they were considered two different names then, just as is 
the case to-day among Strathnaver people. Probably the best English 
equivalent of Aodh is lye, if it can be called an equivalent ; and it is 
a pity that this name, as characteristic of the MacKays once as Rorie 
is of the Macleods or Ranald of the Macdonalds, is not more com- 
monly used nowadays. 1 Like the name MacKay. Aodh also has been 
twisted into a great variety of forms to suit the fancy of different 
■writers. In the Earldom of Sutherland, written about 1630 by Sir 

1. Among Strathnaver people at the present day a person addressed as lye, in Gaelic, signs his 
name and is addressed, in English, as Isaac. . The surname Maelsaac, to be found in the West 
Highlands, may be a corrupt form of Mackay. 


Robert Gordon, the name is spelt lye, and in some cases Y simply. 
In the 1415 charter by the Lord of the Isles to Angus Du of Strath- 
naver, it is spelt Eyg, and in the will of Sutherland of Dunbeath, 
dated 1456, it is spelt Aytho. 1 " Mariota filia Athyn," the first wife 
of the " Wolf of Badeuoch " and the mother of his children, was a 
daughter of Athyn, another form of the name Aodh. In some of the 
Latin documents included in the Chronicles of the Picts and Scots, in 
Fordun's Annalia, etc., Malcolm MacEth or MacKay, who claimed 
the earldom of Moray, and became first Earl of Ross about 1157, is 
variously denominated MacEth, MacHeth, MaeEd, MacHead, etc. 
Dr. Macbain, who edits the second edition of Skene's Highlanders of 
Scotland, writes at page 414 — " The name Heth is the most ill-used 
syllable I know of. It appears as Head, Ed, Etli ; the Gaelic form of 
all these monstrosities can easily be identified. It is the very favour- 
ite name of Aed or Aodh, later translated as Hugh. Macheth is an 
old form of MacKay." 


There is a pretty general agreement that the MacKays and 
Forbeses sprang from the same stock, or were closely connected in the 
distant past. Sir Robert Gordon of Gordonston, son of Alexander, 
11th Earl of Sutherland, and tutor of John, 13th Earl, during his 
minority, wrote a history of the earldom of Sutherland about 1630, 
which gives a vast amount of information, not only about the 
Sutherland family, but about the MacKays, Sinclairs, and many other 
northern clans. Sir Robert, however, is notoriously unjust to every 
family who did not happen to be on friendly terms with his own, and 
particularly so to the MacKays, whom he bastardizes with great 
freedom. His hostile sjiirit towards this family is nakedly shown in 
the Farewell Letter of Advice, of which we give extracts in our 

1. u Item.— I geve and assigns to my donchtir Marion al the lave of my lanilis that I have 
nndisponyt npone, and sa mony ky aid and zong as I have wyth Aytho Fanrcharsone, or wyth Mae- 
Kaj Benauch [Bernard and sa mony ky as scho aucht to have of William Polsony's ky." — Miscellany of 
the Bunnatyne Chib. Vol. III. 


Appendix Xo. 36. Sir Robert says that the MacKays sprang from 
" one called Walter, reported by some to have been the bastard sone 
of the Lord Forbese his predicessour, who at that time was not vet Earld. ok 

SUTIIR. P. 302. 

of the surname of Forbese." This Walter, he proceeds, became 
chamberlain to the Bishop of Caithness, married bis daughter, and 
obtained from the said bishop church lands in Strathnaver. From 
the long genealogical account which follows, Walter must have lived 
about 1150 — a period sufficiently remote to preclude any knowledge 
of his legitimacy or otherwise, we should say. The only fact which 
interests us presently in this account is the statement that the Mac- 
Kays and Forbeses were supposed to have had a common origin. 

In 16.52 the eccentric Sir Thomas Urquhart of Cromarty wrote the 
True Pedigree and Lineal Descent of the most Ancient and Honour- 
able Family of Urquhart, In the House of Cromarty, from the 
Creation of the World until the year of God 1652. He solemnly 
tells us that in the 8th century of the Christian era Vocompos, head 
of the House of Cromarty, " had to his second brother one named 
Phorbas Urquhart, and Hugh to the third ; of whom, some few 
hundred years after that, the names of Forbes and Mackay had their 
beginning." We laugh at Sir Thomas' crazy genealogies, but note 
the fact that he records the MacKays, Urquharts, and Forbeses were 
of the same stock. 

In 1667 William Forbes edited and drew up a preface for the 
House of Forbes, compiled by Mathew Lumsden in 1580. In this 
preface he says Ochonochar, an Irish lord who came over to Scotland, 
had a son Ochonochar, and that this second Ochonochar had three 
sons, who became the respective progenitors of the families of Forbes, 
Urquhart, and MacKay. He proceeds : — 

" Ochonochar's third son, called Walter Forbes, went to Kaitness, and 
attended the Bishope thereof, and he being familiar with the Bishope's 
daughter, begate her with child, with whom, fearing the Bishop's wrath, 
he fled to Strathnaver, and possessed himself of the twelve davoch and 
land of Dromesos [Durness], then belonging to the Bishope ; whereupon 
the Bishope, raising a number of men, went to Strathnaver, and possessed 


himself again of the said lands. Walter and the Bishopc's daughter being 
fled, left behind them their little sone ; and it being told the Bishope that 
the child was his daughter's, begotten by Walter Forbes, the Bishope 
caused immediatlie fenss the court in the name of the child, who was 
called John Forbes, of whom is descendid the house of MacKay who is 

now Lord Rea This narratione of the originall of the 

houss of MacKay, the first Lord Reay did relate to credable gentlemen 
who related the same to the writer hereof, etc." 

These three writers — others also might be quoted to the same 
effect 1 — agree in saying that there was an original connection between 
the Strathnaver Mackays, who live in the extreme north of Scotland, 
and the Forbeses, who live in the old provinces of Moray and Buchan. 
Sir Robert Gordon and Forbes expressly state that they had had their 
information from the MacKays themselves. Sir Thomas Urquhart, 
no doubt, obtained his from the same source, as he was on very 
intimate terms with the MacKays, who, like himself, were staunch 
supporters of the two kings Charles. They were associated in the 
northern campaign of 1640 when Inverness was captured by the 
royalists, and again at the battle of Worcester, in 1651, Captain Mac- 
Kay of Borley, at the head of some MacKays, fought alongside the 
Knight of Cromarty. But what these writers assert is borne out by 
the warm friendship existing between the , two families for some 
centuries. As shall be afterwards shown, Donald MacKay of Strath- 
naver helped the Forbeses in their Aberdeenshire feuds about 1534; 
his son lye Du MacKay lived in close amity with them up to his 
death in 1572, as various documents show, while the sons of lye Du 
went even the length of calling themselves " MacKay-Forbes." That 
is to say, Huistean MacKay of Strathnaver, Donald of Scourie, and 
William of Bighouse, are styled in various documents " Mackay- 
Forbes." Donald, afterwards, 1st Lord Reay, sometimes put this 
addition to his surname, and at least two of his sons were so styled. 
In the days of John, 2nd Lord Reay, Forbes bishop of Caithness, a 

1. Fraser, in the Wardlaw MS., e.g., writes, "A pretty fellow called Alexander Buys, killing a 
boar by singular manhood, nruce called him Fear Buys, whence is the original of the Forbes, and 
his son Ihe gave origin to the McKyes." 


cadet of the house of Forbes, befriended the MacKays with regard to 
church lands which the Sutherland family managed to get a hold of; 
and even in the days of Lord George, grandson of Lord John, the 
friendship of Mackay and Forbes was maintained. Thus from about 
1500 down to the time of the Marr rebellion in 1/15, there is docu- 
mentary evidence of such a close friendship existing between these 
two families, living so far apart, as to strongly confirm the common 
tradition that they were of a kindred stock. 

Skene, in his Highlanders of Scotland, suggests that the MacKays 
were descended of the ancient Caithness Maormors. He writes : — 

" It happens unfortunately for the solution of this question, that the 
Clan MacKay is not contained in the manuscript of 1450 [a Gaelic 
genealogical MS. in the Advocates' Library] ; and in the absence of direct 
testimony of any sort, the most probable supposition seems to be that 
they were descended from the ancient Gaelic inhabitants of the district of 
Caithness. If this conclusion be a just one, however, we can trace the 
early generations of the clan in the Sagas, for we are informed by thein 
that towards the beginning of the twelfth century ' there lived in the 
Dolum Katanesi (or Strathnaver) a man named Moddan, a noble and rich 
man,' and that his sons were Magnus Orfi, and Ottar, the Earl in Thurso. 
The absence of all mention of Moddan's father, the infallible mark of a 
Norwegian in the Sagas, sufficiently points out that he must have been a 
native ; but this appears still more strongly from his son being called an 
earl. No Norwegian under the Earl of Orkney could have borne such a 
title, but they indiscriminately termed all the Scottish maormors and 
great chiefs earls, and consequently Mocldan and his son Ottar must have 
been Gaelic Maormors of Caithness, and consequently the MacKays, if a 
part of the ancient inhabitants of Caithness, were probably descended 
from them." 

As regards Moddan and his son Earl Ottar of Thurso, we venture 
to suggest that they were descended of an earlier Moddan, who fell at 
Thurso about 1040. In the Orkney inga Saga we read that King 
Karl Hundi (whom Dr. Skene identifies as King Duncan, son of 
Crinan, abbot of Dunkeld, by his wife, a daughter of King Malcolm 
MacKenneth) gifted Caithness to Moddan, his sister's son, conferring 
upon him at the same time the dignity of an carl. As Caithness was 
at this time under the sway of the Norsemen, to secure the royal gift 


meant stern righting. Earl Moddan is reported to have marched 

north with a large army, and taking up his quarters at Thurso, was 

there surprised and slain. We hear no more of this Earl Moddan, but 

it is not at all likely that his family would lightly relinquish their 

claims to lands which the king gifted, and consequently we think that 

" Moddan the noble man of Dolum Katanesi," who flourished about 

1100, was the son or grandson of Moddan, nephew of Duncan, king 

of Scots. Skene, in the extract quoted above, gives substantial 

reasons for believing that the Moddan family was Celtic, and not 

Norse. This view is further strengthened by the fact that the name 

Moddan is purely Celtic. It is a compound of Mo-Aodh-an, and 

means ''a votary of St. Aidan," while the name Aidan is a Gaelic 

diminutive of Aodh. This we state upon the authority of Professor 

Mackinnon, Celtic Chair, Edinburgh. From the account given in the 

Sagas this family appears to have latterly lived on more friendly terms 

with the Norse Earls of Orkney, who were overlords of Caithness, 

than with the Scottish kings. But there is nothing surprising in this. 

In course of time they may have found it better policy to court the 

favour of the Norseman, rather than maintain a struggling allegiance 

to the distant and unstable Scottish throne. 

torf.evs. Moddan, who lived in the " Dales of Caithness," had two sons, 

Earl Ottar of Thurso and Magnus " the generous ; " he had also two 

daughters, Helga and Frakork. Helga married Earl Hakon, 1 Paul's 

sou, and bore to him Ingibiorg, who married Olave the Red, King of 

OBK.SAGA. Man and the Isles, whose daughter Ragnhild became the wife of 
Introduction. . 

Somerled regulus of Argyle. Frakork, the other daughter of Moddan, 

married Liot, " a great man and chieftain in Sutherland," says Tor- 

fasus. The two sons of Moddan may be the " da mac Matni " (the 

two sons of Matan), who are said, in the Book of Deer, to have 

witnessed at Ellon, along with the nobles of Buchan and others, the 

I. On an island in Loch Hakon, a considerable sheet of water about three miles south of Tongue 
House, may be seen the ruins of a house called Orianan (sunny), which is traditionally reported to 
ha ve been the summer resort of a Hakon and his lady. Was this Earl Hakon and his wife, Helga, 
the daughter of Moddan V 


solemn morfcmaiuing of offerings by Colban Mormaer of Buchan 
to the monastery of Deer, shortly after 1132. Distant though 
Caithness be from Buchan, there is nothing unreasonable in this 
surmise, for there was in ancient times a close ecclesiastical connection 
between the province of Caithness and the territories of Moray, 
Buchan, and Aberdeen, as Dr. Stuart, editor of the Book of Deer, 
observes. 1 And if the Moddau family came originally from the 
north-east shoulder of Scotland, as we suspect, the surmise is all the 
more reasonable. 

The Highlanders of Scotland, in which it is suggested that the 
MacKays are descended from the Moddan family, was written by 
Skene when a young man, in 1836 ; but before the conclusion of his 
great work, Celtic Scotland, in 1880, some of his earlier and immature 
views underwent considerable change. Dr. JEneas Mackay, lately 
lecturer on Constitutional Law and History in the University of 
Edinburgh, afterwards Sheriff of Fife, and the author of various 
learned historical works, informs us that Dr. Skene, in his later years, 
was inclined to believe that the MacKays, formerly called Clan 
Morgan, passed over from Moray and Buchan to Strathnaver when 
King Malcolm cleared that part of Scotland of its rebellious inhabi- 
tants, about 1160. This also seems to have been the view of the 
well-known Gaelic scholar, the late Rev. Dr. Maclauchlau, Edinburgh, 
who, when discussing the MacHeth claimants to the earldom of 
Moray, writes : — " The race of Mac-Heth may appear among the Mae- 
Heths or Mac-Aoidhs, the Mackays of Sutherland, nor is this rendered 
less probable by the Morganich or sons of Morgan, the ancient name 
of the MacKays, appearing in the ' Book of Deer ' as owning posses- ^55" cl f coi: 
sions and power in Buchan." Curiously enough, this is exactly the 
position taken up by the Blk. MS., which claims that the MacKays 
of Strathnaver are descended from Malcolm MacEth, first Earl of Ross. 

1. According to the Aberdeen Breviary, St. Fergus, who came from Ireland, after founding three 
churches in Aberdeenshire, crossed over to Caithness, where he also reared some churches, one of 
which is at Wick. St. Drostan, one of the founders of the Deer monastery, has various dedica- 
tions in Caithness, at Canishay, Wesfcfield, and Westerdale, at which latter place there is a noted 
holy well, called Tobair Trostan (well of Trostan). St. Moddan, who also laboured in Aberdeen- 
shire, as many place-names show, has dedications in Caithness at Bower and Olrig. 


The Strathnaver Mackays were known in ancient times as the 
Clan Morgan. In the Earldom of Sutherland, Sir Robert Gordon 
repeatedly applies this epithet to them. In one of the Clan Ranald 
MSS., commonly called Little Boole, the writer gives the names of 
various Highland chiefs who flourished during his youth, when 
" Charles, son of James sixth, was king ; " and among them mentions 
Skene mss. "Donald Duabhail MacKav, chief of the Clan Morgan." This was 

XVI. 2. " 

Donald, afterwards 1st Lord Reay, chief of the Strathnaver MacKays. 
He was and is still known to the Gaelic-speaking Highlanders of 
Strathnaver as Donald Dughall. To the old Highlanders the Danes 
were Du-Ghalls, " black strangers," and the Norwegians were Fion- 
Ghalls, " white strangers," for what reason we cannot say. It was 
because the first Lord Reay served for some time under the King of 
Denmark that he came to be nicknamed Dughall. That the Clan 
MacKay was once called Clan Morgan has never been disputed by 
competent authorities. The earliest reference to the Clan Morgan, of 
which we have any knowledge, is to be found in a Gaelic entry in the 
Booh of Deer, dated a few years later than 1132; and in this entry 
we find the toisheach of the clan, his two sons, and the two sons of 
Matan, witnessing a legal transaction at Ellon, the old capital of 
Buchan. We proceed to give a literal translation of the entry, and 
the entry itself we give in a foot-note : 2 — 

" Colhain, mormaer of Buchan, and Eva, daughter of Gartnait, his 
married wife, and Donnachadh son of Sithig, toisheach of Clan Morgan, 
immolated all the offerings given to God and to Droston and to Columkill 
and to Peter the Apostle, free from all the burdens for a share of four 
davachs of what would come on the chief monasteries (if Scotland generally 
and on the chief churches. Before these witnesses : Broecin, and Cormac 
abbot of Turbruaid, and Morgan son Donnachadh, and Gilli-Petair son of 
Donnachadh, and Malaechin, and the two sons of Matan, and all good 
ones of Buchan in witness hereof in Elon." 

The name Morgan or Morcunn comes from the Gaelic word Mor, 

1. Robaid Colbain mormaer Buchan 7 Eua ingen Gartnait abenphusta 7 Donnachac mc Sithig 
toesech clenni Morgain nahuli edbarta ri Dia 7 ri Drostan 7 ri Columcilli 7 ri Petar apstal onahulib 
dolaidib archuit cetri dabacb do ni thissad ar ardmandaidib Alban cucotchenn 7 ara hardcheliaib. 
Test, his : Brocein 7 Cormac abb Turbruaid 7 Morgunn mc Donncbaid 7 Gilli Petair mo Donncbaid 
7 Malaechin 7 da mc Matni 7 mathe Buchan huli naididnaisse in Helain.— See Book of Deer. 


" the sea," aud is said by the author of the Gaelic Etymological 

Dictionary to mean " sea bright." The place-name Moray, which 

appears in the older forms Murev, Murav, etc., comes also from the 
lc . Shaw's Moray. 

root Mor, aud means " the sea side." As Catuv, the locative case of 
Cat, denotes Catland or Sutherland, aud Galluv, the locative case of 
Gall, denotes the Norseman's land or Caithness, so Moruv, the loca- 
tive case of Mor, denotes the sea-side land or Moray. And just as 
the inhabitants of Sutherland are called in Gaelic to this day Cattich, 
and those of Caithness Gallich, so probably did the name Morgan 
arise to denote Moraymen in general, or a certain section of that 
people. We are justified in concluding that there was some connec- 
tion between the names Morgan and Murray, as both sprang from the 
same old Gaelic root Mor, the sea. 

The editor of the Book of Deer is perplexed over grants of land 
by Moraymen, such as Malcolm the son of Maelbrigte and Mael- 
snechte the son of Lulach, to a monastery in the rival province of 
Buchan. We fail to appreciate his difficulty, for the church was not 
a provincial institution. To us it seems most natural that officials in 
Moray should help a neighbouring monastery of such standing as that 
of Deer. As Toisheach, first or leader, is supposed to have been the 
official next in order after the Ri, petty king, or the Mormaer, over- 
lord, it may be that Duncan of Clan Morgan appeared at Ellon on 
this occasion to represent the Moraymen, seeing that they were with- 
out a Mormaer since Angus fell at Strathcathro in 1130. Indeed, 
this solemn assembly on the moot-hill of Ellon, where representatives 
from Caithness and Moray, as we believe, were present with the 
nobles of Buchan, may have been due to the anxiety of the Deer 
officials to secure their church-lands by as legal .and binding a title as 
possible, in view of the then distracted state of the country, owing, 
among other factors, to the growing feudalism of the Scots kings. 

Dr. Macbain, in a note to his edition of Skene's Highlanders of 
Scotland, says: — "It is remarkable that the Sutherland Mackays 
claim kinship with the Forbeses of Aberdeenshire, and about 1(308 


actually adopted Lord Forbes' arms, with cadet differences, 
hut it is also remarkable that the name Morgan exists, or in historic 
times existed, nowhere else than in Aberdeenshire and among the 
Sutherland MacKays." Of course he is speaking of Scotland ; but he 
is not justified in strictly limiting the south Morgans to Aberdeenshire 
alone — a portion of the province of Buchan in olden times. They 
also meet us in Moray. About 1226 King Alexander gave in excam- 
bion to Andrew, bishop of Moray, some forest-lands, a part of which 
no 1 *) 110 "' was " dimidiam daucham in landa Morgund " (half a davach in the 
Morgan-lands). These lands were in the neigbourhood of Pluscardine, 
between Forres and Elgin, and probably became the Crown's property 
through escheat from the former owners. Not less remarkable than 
those which Dr. Macbain points out is the fact that, in the early 
genealogies of the Highland Clans given in the Advocate's Library 
MS. of 1450, and in the still earlier Irish MSS., the name Morgan is 
never found in a Highland family except that of Moray ! 

Let us now see where we stand. We found that, about 1039, 
King Duncan gave Caithness to his nephew Moddan, who lost his life 
at Thurso soon thereafter endeavouring to wrest the king's gift from 
the Norsemen. About 1100 we saw that Moddan, "a noble and rich 
man," occupied the " Dales of Caithness " (or Strathnaver), on friendly 
terms with the Norsemen, and concluded that he was a son or repre- 
sentative of the earlier Moddan thus endeavouring to secure the king's 
gift. As the province of Caithness had been then for about two 
centuries in the possession of the Norsemen, we presumed that the 
earlier Moddan was not a native of that part of the country, but a 
Celt of Moray or Buchan, and for that presumption we got some 
support from the fact that two sons of a Moddan witnessed a very 
solemn legal transaction in Buchan about 1133. We also found that 
the Clan Morgan was located in these north-eastern parts about this 
time, that its toisheach acted in his official capacity along with the 
mormaer of Buchan, and that the name Morgan in Scotland was 
peculiar to Moray and Buchan, but reappeared in Sutherland at a 



later period. The question we have now to face is, how did the Clan 
Morgan, of whom we got a glimpse in the north-east of Scotland, 
about 1133, reappear afterwards in distant Strathnaver, and there 
continue to be known by exactly the same title ? We believe the 
solution of the problem is to be found in the transportation of the 
Moraymen about 1160, in consequence of their continued rebellion fordun's 
culminating in that of Malcolm MacHeth, 1st Earl of Ross, their 
leading representative, of which more anon. This also is the position 
taken up in the Bile. MS., which we shall consider immediately. And 
if our surmises be correct, it can easily be understood how the Mac- 
Kays, who now live in the north of Sutherland, are kindred with the 
Forbeses of Aberdeenshire, for the MacKays once dwelt in that 
neighbourhood and formed one of its leading families. 


As already stated, the early genealogy of Mackay given by Mr. 
MacKay of Blackcastle, in the Bile. MS. Boole, conflicts to some 
extent with that given by Sir Robert Gordon in the Earldom of 
Sutherland. Table I. 1 shows the genealogy according to Sir Robert, 
tracing the family back to Forbes. Table II. shows that of the Bile. 
3IS., tracing the family back to Malcolm MacEth, 1st Earl of Ross, 
who claimed Moray and got Ross, a portion of it, settled upon him by 
the King. The dates in square brackets are by us. It is well known 
that Sir Robert gives thanes and early earls to the house of Suther- 
land who never existed. He also inserted two earls in more modern 
times, John and Nicolas, the 8th and 9th respectively, who are 
discarded as non-existent by Sir Wm. Frascr in the Sutherland Boole. 
These mistakes, and perhaps they are not to be wondered at, in giving 
the genealogy of the house whose history he was specially recording, 
prepare us to expect even greater errors in recording the genealogy of 
a family which found scant grace in his eyes. 

1. See Comparative Genealogies, p. 17. 


But the question arises, what value are we to attach to the 
genealogy in the Blk. MS. ? It all depends upon the value of the 
old MS. family genealogy which he weaves into his biographical and 
genealogical account of the MacKays. That earlier MS. is not before 
lis, and consequently we are at some disadvantage in discussing the 
matter. We can say this, however, that we have found the Black- 
castle account, in as far as it is based on this older MS., invariably 
accurate as far as we could test it. Blackcastle states certain facts 
based upon the earlier MS., which happen to be confirmed on an 
examination of the public records by us. Of the battle of Druim nan 
coup, which Sir Robert Gordon dates 1427 or 1429, the Blk. MS. 
says, " in an old family manuscript the date of this engagement is 
stated as above in 1433." It turns out that Neil Xeilson MacKay, 

Reg. Mag. Sig. •" 

voL.iii. no. 64. one f ti ie ] ea( l evs w ] ]0 f e u i n this battle, had lands conferred upon 
him by the King as late as 1430, so that clearly in this instance the 
old family manuscript is the more accurate of the two. It also 
records that lye Dii of Strathnaver joined the Macintoshes and others 
in support of Queen Mary in 1562, captured Inverness, and marched 
with her Majesty to Aberdeen. It turns out that at the very time 

reg^sec. sig. j^ ar y re t ul - n ed to Aberdeen, she granted a remission to the said lye 
for certain offences committed by him at an earlier period. Other 
instances might be given here, and shall be given hereafter, but these 
will suffice meantime to show that there was something in this old 
family MS. 

When MacKay of Blackcastle endeavours to explain certain 
matters he sometimes, but not often, seriously blunders. He con- 
founds Malcolm MacEth with Farquhar Macintaggart, who was of 
quite a different family, and no connection of Malcolm. This led him 
into a quagmire at the start. He constantly alters lye into Hugh, 
because "Aodh is translated Hugh by O'Flaharty and all the Irish 
writers." He falls into an evident mistake when he makes it appear 
that Gilchrist was the son of lye Mor II., and draws the line of 
descent through the said Gilchrist. We have no difficulty, however, 



in seeing how he fell into this mistake, and he is candid enough to 

tell us that it was a theory of his own. On 31st Mar. 1329 King 

Robert II. granted a Charter of Confirmofion of Lands in Kintyre to appem 
6 J no. I. 



I. Walter m. a dr. of Bishop of Caithness, 


II, Martin k. at Kinloch Kvlk. 


III. Magnus died on Strathnaver. 


IV. Morgan Farquhar 

a quo Clan Farquhar 

V. Donald m. dr. of Y mac Neil of Gigha. 

VI. lye k. at Dingwall 1395 by Nicolas Earl 
of Suthr. 

VII. Donald k. at Dingwall 1395 along with 
his father Ive. 

! Ill 

A III. Angus in. Hutcheon Neil Martin, 
dr. of Mac- Du. 

Leod of Lewis. a quo Gallo- 

way MacKays. 

IX. Angus Du Rorie Gald 

fought at Ding- k. at Dingwall 

wall 1411. 1411. 


I. lye descended of Malcolm Earl of Ross, 
first to settle in Strathnaver. 
1.. 1210 

I ! 

II. lye Mor m. dr. Morgan 
of Walter bishop 
of Caithness. 

12(i3 c. 


a quo Galloway 
Mac Kay. 


III. Donald Gilchrist. 

ta. 1264. 


IV. lye k. at Dingwall 1370 
by Nicolas of Moray. 


I I 

A . Donald k. at Dingwall Farquhar. 

1370 along with his 
father lye. a quo Clan 


VI. Angus 

and others. 

VII. Angus Du Rorie Gald 

fought at k. at Dingwall 

Dingwall 1411. 1411. 

" Gilchrist mac Ymar McAy," to be held by the said Gilchrist, and 
afterwards by his younger son Gilchrist and his heirs, whom failing 
by Yniar the elder son and his heirs. He concluded, through lack of 



an adequate knowledge of Gaelic, that Ymar was a mode of spelling 
lye Mor, and that Ymar, the father of Gilchrist, was none other thau 
lye Mor II. He also concluded that as Gilchrist the younger was 
designated his father's heir in Kintyre, the elder Ymar must have 
been passed over because he succeeded his supposed uncle, Donald 
III. ; and that in Ymar, the son of Gilchrist, we have none other 
than lye IV. who was killed at Dingwall in 1370. This acknow- 
ledged theory is utterly wrong. Ymar is a mode of spelling Ivor, 
without a doubt. It is possible that the said Ivor was a son of lye I., 
but we have no means of connecting them. If we blot out this 
interpolated and acknowledged theory, Donald III. is succeeded by 
his son lye IV., and the two tables in direct descent practically agree 

Let us now compare the two tables a little more closely. Sir 
Robert Gordon, as Table I. shows, says that a certain Walter married 
the daughter of a nameless bishop of Caithness, and that from this 
union the Strathnaver MacKays took their descent ; whereas Table 
II. says that an lye Mor married the daughter of a Walter, Bishop 
of Caithness. Now, it so happens that a Walter de Baltrodi became 
Mini^vdem. 6th bishop of the see of Caithness in 1263. Here we have something 
definite to go upon. Table I. leaves us in the clouds, but Table II. 
gives us some foot-hold on facts. That the compiler of the earlier 
family account knew nothing of de Baltrodi is some confirmation of 
the accuracy of his genealogy. 

There is a striking discrepancy between Tables I. and II. in the 
position which they respectively assign to Farquhar, the progenitor of 
the Clan vie Farquhar. In Table I. Farquhar is represented as being 
the great-great-great-grand uncle of Angus Du ; in Table II. he is 
made to appear as the granduncle of the said Angus. Farquhar, as 
placed in Table I., was too far removed for Sir Robert to know much 
about him, but as placed in Table II. lingering traditions of him might 
survive. Nay more, the Iieay Papers show that Farquhar of Table 
II. is correctly placed. Among these papers there is a Charter of 


Confirmation by King Robert II. (4tb Sept. 13/9) of a gift by his sou 

Alexander, lord of Badenoch, of the lands of Hope and Melness, in 

the parish of Durness, to Farquhar, a physician, and another charter 

• ■ i • n -n i Appendix 

by the same king (31st Dec. 1386) bestowing on the said Farquhar no. n.,m. 

all the islands lying between the Stoirhead of Assiut and the Aird 

of Farr. The dates of these charters correspond with the position 

assigned to Farquhar in Table II., and prove that Table I. is far 

astray on this particular point. 

Donald MacCorriehie, "a descendant of Farquhar," sold these in""- 

1 No. IX. 

lands of Hope and Melness to lye Roy and his son John (30th Sep. 
1511), but retained the islands. William McCallau, a descendant of 
McCorrichie, sold these islands to Sir Donald MaeKay, afterwards 1st 
Lord Reay, on the 6th Oct, 1024. The said Win. McCallan had a 
brother Angus, whose son Wm. macAngus McCallan had some rights 
over Strathan-Melness, as appears from a sasine of these lands dated 
11th Apr. 1670. The son and heir of the latter William had a 
precept of clarc constat, on the 23rd Apr. 1686, as "William mac- 
William mac-Angus alias McKy," in order to secure a legal title to 
the lands of Strathan-Melness. 1 Thus we see that what appeared 
as simply Farquhar in 13/9 blossoms, in his descendant of 1686, into 
the full-blown "alias McKay," proving amply that Farquhar was a 
MaeKay, and that Table II. is correct. 

The descent from the Earl of Ross claimed in Table II. is further 
corroborated by the fact that the MacKays had interests in Ross from 
a very early date. In 1430 King James I. gave to Neil N"eiIson the 

lands of Creich in Sutherland, and those of Gairloch, etc., in Ross, as orig. par. 

' , Scot. 

formerly possessed by his brother Thomas MaeKay, a cousin of Angus 

Du. Sir Robert informs us that Angus Du opposed the Lord of the 

Isles at Dingwall in 1411, because the said Lord had molested some 

of Angus' people in Ross. Both these facts clearly show that the 

MacKays of that period had some hold upon lands in Ross. And 

Hector Boece records that Angus Duff " tuk an gret prey of gudis 

1. Various documents in the Bmy Papers show the facts to be as stated by us above. 


out of Murray," which shows the length of his arm and his connec- 
tion with that quarter. For the cumulative reasons given above, we 
consider the genealogy of Table II. by far the more accurate of the 
two on the points in dispute between them, with the exception of the 
descent through Gilchrist as already explained, and consequently 
accept the Bll:. MS. account of the early descent in preference to that 
of Sir Robert Gordon. 


Between the rulers of Mo: - ay and the kings of Scotland there was 
a long and bitter conflict, which arose apparently out of a claim by 
the former to the Crown. On the death of Malcolm II. about 1034, 
the descendants of Kenneth Mac Alpin, the founder of the Scottish 
dynasty, became extinct in the male line. The next king was Duncan, 
son of Crinan, Abbot of Dunkeld, by his wife a daughter of Malcolm 
II. To secure Duncan's succession, Malcolm before his death passed a 
special ordinance making heirs in the female line eligible, and at the 
same time took the precaution of slaying the rightful male heir, a son of 
his brother Boete. Gruoch, however, a daughter of Boetc was married 
to Macbeth, the powerful mormaer of Moray ; and King Duncan, 
Malcolm's grandson, found it necessary or wise to endow Macbeth 
with a considerable amount of power. When the arms of Duncan 
suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Thorfin the Norseman, 
Macbeth not only deserted his cause, but turned upon him and slew 
him. The children of King Duncan fled into England, and Macbeth 
became king of Scots, a position which he occupied for no less than 
seventeen years. That he reigned so long implies that his right to 
the throne, through his wife Gruoch, was acknowledged by a consider- 
able body of the people. It is now universally acknowledged by 
modern historians that Shakespeare, the dramatist, did not do justice 


to Macbeth and his lady. They were not the cruel, ambitious couple 
he represents them ; and if they slew King Duncan, the grandson of 
Malcolm II., they were avenging Malcolm's cold-blooded murder of 
Lady Macbeth's brother, the rightful heir. 

In the meantime Lulach, 1 a second cousin of Macbeth, and, as 
some hold, the son of Gruoch by a former husband, became mormaer 
of Moray. Eventually Malcolm (afterwards known as Malcolm III. 
or Canmore) the son of the slain Duncan, returned from England and 
with English help overthrew and slew Macbeth at Lumphanan in 
1057, after three years' fighting. But the supporters of Macbeth 
were not utterly crushed. They now set up as king of Scots, Lulach, 
Mormaer of Moray, who had a claim to the throne through his 
mother, a daughter or granddaughter of Boete. Lulach, however, 
was not able to withstand the victorious Canmore for more than 
seven months, and fell in battle 17th Mar. 1058, leaving a sou 
Maelsnectan who became mormaer of Moray, and a daughter who 
married Aed, afterwards mormaer of the same province. In 1078 
Malcolm Canmore again turned his attention to the Moraymcn, 
administered some punishment and secured some spoil, but Maels- 
nectan managed to keep up the fight till he died in 1085. 

The next Earl 2 of Moray was Aed, who married the daughter of 
Lulach. Little is known of Aed. He is identified as the Earl Aed Robertson's 


who witnessed charters by King David I., son of Malcolm III. 
Whatever he may have been during the chequered years which 
immediately followed the death of Canmore, the fact that he 
witnessed royal charters later on may indicate that he lived at peace 
with King David. He also appears to have become Earl of Moray 
in virtue of his marriage with Lulach's daughter, and may have 
sprung from a collateral noble family of Moray. He was succeeded 

1. Lulach was the sou of Gillicomgan, the son of Maelbridge, the son of Ruadri, the son of 
Donald, the son of Morgan ; and Macbeth was the son of Finnlaeic, the son of Ruadri, the sou of 
Donald, the son of Morgan. Macbeth and Lulach were thus first and second cousins. See genea- 
logies of the Highland Clans in Col. de rcbas Alb. 

2 . About tliis time the old Gaelic title Mormaer was replaced by the Saxon title Earl. 



Annals of 

Ailrkd I., 445 

by his son Angus, who again raised the standard of revolt and 
renewed the old conflict. The occasion of it was as follows : — 
David I. became unpopular among his Celtic subjects owing to his 
introduction of feudalism from England. A nephew of his, Malcolm, 
counting on the support of the disaffected, endeavoured to wrest the 
sceptre from his uncle the king, and found Angus, Earl of Moray, 
oidy too ready to join. But with English aid David was enabled to 
overcome this formidable combination at Strathcathro, Forfar, in 
1130, where there "fell 4000 of the men of Moray with their King 
Oengus, son of the daughter of Lulach." The title Earl of Moray 
was suppressed on the death of Angus, and was not again revived 
until King Robert the Bruce bestowed it upon his nephew Randolph. 
After the fall of Angus, his son Malcolm MacEth fled to the 
western isles, where he was beyond the power of the Scots king 
among a people who owned allegiance to the Norse crown, and 
gathered strength to recover his lost province. It is impossible to 
give a correct account of his doings, as they are inextricably mixed 
up with those of a cleric of the name of Wymund, Bishop of Man, 
who about the same time made insurrection and claimed to be a 
descendent of the house of Moray. Somerled, regulus of Argyle, 
espoused the cause of MacEth and gave him his sister in marriage. 
About 1134 he took the field, and seems to have carried on a system 
of guerilla warfare for a considerable time, retiring to the mountains 
when hard pressed, but returning again and again to the conflict and 
appearing in most unexpected places. After giving an immense 
amount of trouble, he was captured in Galloway with English assist- 
ance, and imprisoned in Roxburgh tower about 1137. Robert de 
Brus, in his reported speech before the battle of the Standard in 
1138, reminds King David how he was supported by the English the 
previous year, against " Malcolm, heir of his father's hate and persecu- 
tion." But this did not end the struggle, nor was it the end of 

On the death of David I., his grandson Malcolm IV. succeeded in 


1153; and again Ave hear that the sons of Malcolm MacEth, sup- 
ported by their uncle, Somerled, took up arms and " caused disturbance 
throughout a great part of Scotland." Donald, son of Malcolm Mac- 

Cron. St. 

Eth, was captured at Witherne in Galloway (1156), and imprisoned cross. 
along with his father in Roxburgh tower. The warfare, however, 
was continued by the MacEths and Somerled until the following year, 
when the king found it good policy to set Malcolm MacEth at liberty 
and "gave him a certain province, which suspended the incursion he 
had instigated," as William of Newburgh informs us. The province 
bestowed upon Malcolm MacEth was Ross. About this time we find 
him witnessing a charter by Malcolm IV. to the monastery of Dun- 
fermline, as " Malcolm Mac Eth." The earldom of Ross, however, 
was but the north-eastern portion of the province of Moray, and as 
MacEth considered himself entitled to the patrimony of his ancestors, 
he naturally felt discontented, and renewed the struggle to his own 
undoing. In the ensuing tumult MacEth was at last overcome, 
captured, and blinded, about the year 1160. Then King Malcolm IV. 
in sheer desperation determined to remove the Moray supporters of 
MacEth, and to plant the province with a people loyal to his throne. 
Fordun thus describes the event in his Annalia, of which we give the 
English translation : — 

" At this time the rebel nation of the Moraymen, whose former lord, 
the Earl Angus, had been killed by the Scots, would, for neither prayers 
nor bribes, neither treaties nor oaths, leave off their disloyal ways, or their 
ravages among their fellow-countrymen. So having gathered a large 
army, the king removed them all from the land of their birth, as of old 
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had dealt with the Jews, and scattered 
them throughout the other districts of Scotland, both beyond the hills 
and this side thereof, so that even not one native of that land abode there, 
and he instalk-d therein his own peaceful people." 

As is customary with early ecclesiastical writers, Fordun does not 
do justice to the claims, rights, and virtues of the Moraymen in his 
zeal for the Crown. We must not conclude that they were by any 


means less virtuous than their contemporaries, although they were 

unfortunately in conflict with the Crown. 

In consequence of this treatment many of the Moray men, and 

among them the Clan Morgan, fled northward over the hills of Ross 

into Strathnaver, where the Norsemen gave them shelter; others 

found a refuge in Argyle and the Isles, beyond the king's power, 

whence came the Bute, Kintyre, and Islay MacKays ; while sonic fled 

to the wilds of Galloway, then also under the Norse sway, and 

founded there a branch of the family. Those who settled in the 

Strathnaver valleys would receive a kindly welcome from Harold, the 

Norse earl of Caithness, whose interest it was to befriend the enemies 

of the Scots king. And they certainly had a good friend in Harold's 

wife, Gormlath, blue-eyes, the daughter of Malcolm MacEth, who as 

might be expected hated the Crown so cordially that King William, 
chkon. Roger . 

be Hov. iv. 12. when making terms with Harold in 1196, endeavoured to stipulate, 

but in vain, that the earl should put her away. If our theory as to 
the Moddan family be correct, that they were a people of Moray 
extraction who found it to their interest to ally themselves with the 
Norsemen, it is natural to conclude that the Moddans also assisted 
the MacEths under the influence of Harold, who was himself a great- 
grandson of Moddan through his daughter Helga. It is even possible 
that the Moddan and MacEth families eventually merged into one 
people through marriage. 

Fordun's statement, that the royal policy was to plant strangers in 
Moray, is supported from other sources of information. About this 
time Berowaldus, a native of Freisland, appears in the Cartulary of 
Moray as a holder of land in that province, and so does Freskin the 
c.u.edoma. progenitor of the house of Moray. Chalmers derives Freskin also 
from Fresia, and Cosmo Lines in the introduction to the Cartulary of 
Moray approves of that view. Be that as it may, the application of 
this policy extended northwards as the king's enemies fell back, and 
Freskin's son, Hugo, thus came to have landed rights in south Suther- 
land. For two generations thereafter, and possibly for three, the 


descendants of Hugo continued to reside in Moray ; their hold on introd. cart. 

a . MoE - ANT > 

Suderland was anything but secure until Earl William married the hailes annals 

daughter of King Robert the Bruce. It is very evident that the 

Freskin family obtained its title and possession in Suderland as a 

reward for helping to curb the turbulence of the northern peoples, 

both Celtic and Norse. 

In 1179 William the Lyon, brother and successor of Malcolm IV., 

finding the people of Ross turbulent, marched thither with a large 

army, inflicted some punishment and built two fortified places in 

Ardmanaeh, or the Black Isle. Again in 1196 William pursued his 

enemies into the province of Caithness, which at that time included 

the present counties of Caithness and Sutherland. Fordun describes 

the incident thus : — 

"In that year (1196) there was so grevious a famine that men were 
starving everywhere. That same year king William led an army into 
Caithness. Crossing the river Oikel, he killed some of the disturbers of 
the peace, and bowed to his will both provinces of the Caithnessmen, 
(Utramque provinciam Catenensium voluntati suae subegit) routing Harold 
the earl thereof, until then a good man and trusty — but at that time goaded 
on by his wife, the daughter of MacEth." 

There are traces of that royal visit yet, both on the hill-sides and 
in the traditions of the people. Near the top of Strathnaver there is 
an old battle-field strewn with tumuli, called Dall-Harrold, and over- 
looking the field is a small eminence, Cnoc Ri, king's hill, whence the 
king is said to have directed operations. Harold fell back down the 
strath and made his final stand on Fiscary hill, overlooking the 
township of Farr. His battle front, as the abounding tumuli show, 
extended for about a mile and a half east and west, his right wing 
rested on the spur above Crask, and his left on the rocks above the 
Swordly valley. His left face was covered by Loch Salchie, and from 
thence to the right there was a good deal of soft ground over which 
his assailants had to advance to the attack. The position was very 
strong, with Borve Castle on the sea-rocks about two miles to the 
rear ; but King William was not to be denied. After fighting of the 


fiercest character — the ground is literally covered with graves — ■ 
Harold was routed and driven to the sea. Some of the survivors fled 
to their boats in Rhivaal bay, about a mile east of Borve, as the 
gruesome trail of graves, which becomes a perfect cemetery above the 
landing place, shows. They must have fought desperately there to 
cover the embarkation of the survivors. Others may have fled to 
Borve Castle, an impregnable fortress perched upon a high rocky 
isthmus. We have ourselves seen a sword dug out of the Fiscary 
moss, with the characteristic Norse hilt, a relic of that bloody battle. 
Harold, however, and his followers continued to maintain the struggle 
for some time longer in Caithness, Ross, and Moray, as Fordun 
proceeds to show. 

In 1214 Alexander II. succeeded his father, William the Lyon, 
and the very next year the family of MacWilliam, who laid some 
claim to the throne of Scotland, together with the family of MacEth, 
burst into the province of Moray at the head of a large army. They 
were opposed by Farquhar mac in Tagart ; and Kenneth MacEth, 
whom we take to be a grandson of Malcolm MacEth, lost his life in 
this struggle. It is very probable that the MacEths so designated 
themselves to perpetuate in this way their claim to the earldom of 
Moray, as descended of Aed, who married the daughter of Lulach. 
In 1223 we find the disaffected ones still fighting, and now the scene 
of conflict is again Strathnaver. 

"This year (1223) also king Alexander levies an army and takes 
Ann?™'* Gilespick and his three sons, with Eoderick, the remaining firebrands of 
vol. i.' Mac William's rebellion in Strathnawerne, and hangs them with diverse of 

their followers on gibbets." 

The Scottish annalists persistently record very little more than 
their defeats, but we feel sure that a race, who fought so determinedly 
as the MacEths did for over 130 years against the kings of Scotland, 
won battles as well as lost them. In fighting against the Crown they 
were practically fighting against fate, which fortunately destined the 
consolidation of Scotland into a homogeneous nation, the common 


heritage of Celt, Saxon, and Norseman. The following presents in 
tabular form the descent of the MacEths from Aed their progenitor : — 

I. Aed Earl of Moray, 
m. dr. of Lulach, 
c. 1085. 

II. Angus Earl of Moray, 
k. 1 130. 

III. Malcolm MacEth, Earl 
of Ross, m. sister of 
Somerled. Lost Ross 
c. 1 160. 

IV. Donald MacEth captured Gormlath m. Harold 

in Galloway, 1156 Earl of Caithness. 

V. Kenneth MacEth, son or 

nephew of Donald, k. 12 15. 

A quo the Mackays of Strathnaver. 


At present, by Strathnaver is meant the strath along the river 
Naver from Lochnaver to the sea, but at an earlier period it was the 
name of an extensive tract of country in the north western quarter of 
the province of Caithness. In the tractive situ Albani (1165) it is 
stated, upon the authority of Andrew, Bishop of Caithness, that this 
province was the seventh in Scotland and was divided in the midst 
by the range of the Ord mountains. 1 That is to say the range which 
runs from Helmsdale to Cape Wrath divided the province in two. 
In the Brevis descriptio Regni Scotil (1292), Caithness is described 
as 24 leagues in length by 40 in breadth. 2 On an examination of the 

1. Septima enim pars et Cathanesia citra monteui et ultra ruontem, quia mons Mouud dividit 
Cathauesiam. — Chronicles of the Picts and Scots. 

2. Deinde est terra de Cateneys lougitudmem XXIIII. leucanim et latitudinem XL. — Chronicles 
of the Picts and Scots. 



Oiuu Par. 

Dates and 

map it will be seen that the distance between John O'Groat's in the 
north and Ci'eich in the south, its length, is to the distance between 
John O'Groat's and Cape Wrath, its breadth, as 24 is to 40. When 
Bishop Gilbert divided the diocese of the province into its fourteen 
parishes about 1225, it consisted practically of what are now known 
as the counties of Caithness and Sutherland, with the exception of the 
parish of Assint which pertained to the province of Ross. In course 
of time the name Caithness came to be applied to that part now 
called the county of Caithness ; the parishes of Kiklonan, Loth, 
Golspie, Rogart, Lairg, Creich, and Dornoch were embraced in the 
geographical unit Suderland, the south-land ; and Edderachilis, Dur- 
ness, Kintail of Tongue, and Farr, the old dolum Catkanensi, formed 
the unit Strathnaver, while Assint formed part of Ross. 1 

In the contract between King Charles I. and John, Earl of Suther- 
land, for the resignation of the regality of Sutherland, dated 18th 
July, 1631, the eastern boundary of Strathnaver at the north sea is 
described as being " the strip called Fae-Halladale which divides 
Strathnaver from Caithness." This Fae runs along Drumholstein 
overlooking the valley of Halladale, and is to this day the march 
between Caithness and Strathnaver, or what is now sometimes called 
the land of MacKay. Cordiner, in his letters of 1776, states that he 
entered Strathnaver shortly after leaving Sandside, on his way to 
Bighouse at the foot of the Halladale valley. It is thus made clear 
that the eastern boundary of Strathnaver is Drumholstein. The 
western boundary is the inarch between Assint and Edderachilis. 
Hector Boece, whose history of Scotland was published in 1526, 
describes the western boundary thus: — "merchant with Ross lyis 
Stranavern, the outmaist boundis of Scotland : of quhilk the se cost 
lyis north-north-west, and crukis in agane sometime fornens Almani 

1. Strathnaver is the Nabarus of Ptolmey's map. Farr, Farrar, and Farr, the two latter in 
Inverness-shire, come from the same root, which is probably Piutish. Assint derives its name from 
St. Assin, a Columban, who had dedications in Skye, Easter-Ross, etc. Edderachilis means be- 
tween the two kyles. Durness, which appears under the forms Diurness, Deerness, etc., is a Norse 
word. Tongue is Norse, a tongue. Kintail is a Gaelic compound, ceann sail, head of the salt 


[Minch] seis." Hollinshead's Chronicles, dated about 15/2, state, 
" next unto the said Ros lieth Stranawrae, as the uttermost region of 
Scotland, the coasts whereof abutting for a while upon the Deucali- 
don sea" [Minch]. Various old maps also show Strathnaver 
marching on the west coast with Assint, the northmost part of Ross 
at an early period. 

In the Charter of Regality by James VI. to the Earl of Suther- 
land, 29th Apr. 1601, the lands of Eriboll and Strathmore in Durness, dates and 
" Documents. 

and also the lands of Edderachilis, are described as "lying in Strath- 
naver." In the Disposition by Donald, Lord Reay, to Hugh MacKay 
of Scoury. the 27th June 1634, of the lands of Kylestrome, Douart- 
moir, Douartbeg, Geiskill, Badcall, Skouriemoir, Skouricbcg, Tarbat, 
etc., these places are described as "the said lands of Edderachilis PeatPafbrs 

all lyand within the parocliin of Ardierurness in 

Strathnaver." In the agreement of 1638 between John, bishop of 
Caithness, and Lord Reay for the erection of the parish of Kintail, 


Durness is described as a part of the " countrie of Strathnaver." In no. 39. 
various documents among the Reay Papers lands in Edderachilis and 
Durness are said to lie in Strathuaver, and nothing to the contrary is 
ever met with iu any of these papers. Sir Robert Gordon, however, 
repeatedly and persistently says, without giving any authority what- 
ever, that Edderachilis and Durness were not parts of Strathnaver, |^°; 0F 
and that Strathnaver was practically limited to the parish of Fair. 
Sir Robert had an evident motive in so saying : he sought to lessen 
the importance of the territorial designation "MacKay of Strath- 
naver." It is ever so with Sir Robert ; but the facts given by us, and 
to which we could add considerably by quotations from documents 
among the papers of the Reay family, are all against him. 

The boastful supercilious tone of the Earldom of Sutherland is 
unfortunately adopted in Dates and Documents, etc., of Sutherland 
(1852), by Mr. James Loch, commissioner to the Duke of Sutherland. 
In the latter book the charter of regality given by King James to the 
Earl of Sutherland in 1601, in which the lands of Strathnaver were 


No. 6. 


Oitici. Par. 
Scot. II., n 

included, is printed off with great eclat ; although it is well known 
since the Sutherland peerage case that this charter of regality was 
granted by the king, on the representation that the Sutherland family 
is lineally descended from Margaret, daughter of King Robert Bruce. 
As the only son of this marriage died without issue, the 1601 charter 
of regality to Sutherland, which involved superiority over MacKay, 
was obtained upon a false statement. Mr. Loch, who knew this 
well, might have fluttered the said charter with a little less air of 
triumph. In the same book Mr. Loch, after noticing the charter of 
King James IV. to lye Roy MacKay of 4th Nov. 1499, proceeds, 
" after this date the family of MacKay are generally styled of Strath- 
naver, having been previously styled in Strathnaver." This emphatic 
statement is not only uncalled for, but is at the same time notoriously 
untrue. The said lye MacKay had a Precept from the said king, 
dated 18th July 1496, in which he is designed " Odo McKy de 
Straithuauer." Eighty years earlier still, Angus Du MacKay, in the 
charter of 1415 by Donald Lord of the Isles, is styled "de Strath- 
nawir." And again in 1427, when Angus appeared before the king at 
Inverness, he is called Angus Duf or Makgye of Straithuavern. This 
system of glorifying one family at the expense of another is not only 
unfair, but is sure to provoke reprisals. The Book of Sutherland 
(3 Vols., 1892), by Sir Wm. Fraser, is written in an excellent spirit 
as might be expected from this well-known author ; and he has often 
to contradict the partisan statements, as well as to condemn the tone 
of Sir Robert Gordon, whom Mr. Loch unhappily aspired to emulate. 

In 1539 the king granted in heritage to Donald MacKay the lands 
of Strathnaver, together with Dirlet, Cattack, and Bioinach all in 
Caithness, Kilcalumkill of Strabrora, Kinald, and Golspie in Suther- 
land ; when all these lands were erected into the free barony of 
Farr. From that date till the family was dignified, the chiefs 
of MacKay were sometimes designated of Farr, and sometimes of 

Durness, says Sir Robert Gordon, "is not a portion of Strathnaver, 


neither hath MacKay as yet the heritable right thereof 

Duirness is the bishop of Catheyness his propertie, and was given of 

late in feu by the bishops of that diocie to the Erles of Sutherland." 

Sir Robert takes several liberties with truth in this quotation, but we 

shall only refer to one of them meantime. Durness was not the 

property of the bishop of Caithness, but the church owned fifteen 

davochs of land in the said parish, viz., Gauldwall, Keoldale, Cranega, rf.ay papers & 

Borley, Slanis, Alshermor, Alsherbeg, Sandwood, Carrowgarve, and scot.' ii.,n. 703. 

Carnnmannach. This is but a mere fraction of the extensive parish 

of Durness, and any claim which the Earl of Sutherland may have 

acquired to this portion, he obtained from his brother-in-law, Robert 

Stewart, Bishop of Caithness, afterwards Earl of Lennox, whose sister 

Eleanor became the second wife of Sutherland. To legalise this 

marriage a dispensation from the Pope had to be obtained, as Lady 

Eleanor had a bastard son some time previously. The Sutherland 

family often found Papal dispensations handy, while on the other 

hand the MacKays neglected to make use of what would have often 

saved them from a deal of trouble. Of this marriage Sir Win. Fraser 

says, " the church lands of Caithness were at this time somewhat a ,s UTH k. book 

bone of contention among the neighbouring landowners, and probably 

this fact had some influence in the promotion of the marriage." 

The earliest holder of land in Strathnaver of whom we have 
documentary evidence was Lady Joanna de Strathnaver, who be- 
stowed the lands of Langdale, Rossal, the Tofts of Dovyr, Achuess, No?i26,263. 
Clibrig, Ardovyr, Corynafearn, and four other davochs of land in 
Strathnaver, on the church of Moray. This lady was dead before 
1269. She married Freskin de Moravia, and bore him a daughter 
who married Reginald Chein. The said daughter eventually brought 
these lands to her husband Chein. These lands are frequently desig- 
nated in the earlier documents among the Beat) Papers as Kerrow na 
Shein, Chein's quarter. Dr. Skene surmised that Lady Joanna was a 
daughter of Earl John, son of Harold Madadson of Caithness, and 
that she was a hostage of the king who gave her in marriage to 


Freskin cle Moray. Sir Wm. Fraser shows that this could not be : 
Matilda was the name of the hostage daughter of the Earl of Caith- 
ness. Who Joanna was we cannot say ; but there is no doubt that 
the de Morays tried to get a grip of lands in these quarters by this 
marriage, and it is clear that for some generations the said lands were 
a bone of contention between the Moray of Dnffus and MacKay 

On the north coast of Strathnaver there are three islands in close 
proximity. Isle Colme lies on the west side of Naver bay, and had 
once an extensive Columban ecclesiastical establishment. Close by, 
and further west, lies Rona isle, which also had an ecclesiastical 
institution dedicated to St. Rona, as its name implies. Still further 
west, and lying athwart the bay of Tongue, is Elian nan Gall, island 
of the strangers. It was from these islands that the Columbans 
endeavoured to christianise Strathnaver in early times, and these 
institutions lying close by the Naver bay indicate not only the com- 
parative importance of the place, but may also serve to show how one 
strath came to give its name to a whole territory. But why two 
ecclesiastical institutions so close to one another as those on the 
islands Colme and Rona ? They were rival institutions. Dr. 
Maclauchlan in his Early Scottish Church and Dr. Skene in his 
Celtic Scotland show that about 720 a.d. a schism took place in the 
church of lona, one party cleaving to the old way, and the other 
party, headed by St. Ronan, diverging Romewards. The division in 
course of time became so pronounced that rival establishments were 
set up in close proximity to the older ones by the followers of St. 
Ronan. Thus, close by the mouth of the Naver, the Columbans held 
forth on one island and the Romish Ronans held forth on the other. 

On the east bank of the Naver, and about half a mile from the 
sea, stood once the strongly fortified Tor an Tigh vor, the Bighouse 
heap. About half a mile further up, and on the opposite side, there 
was once the flourishing Balmargait, Margaret's town. Just below 
this town the river forms into the deep sheltered lagoon, Pol na 


Marraich mor, the Lagoon of the great Seamen, where the boats of 
the Norsemen were wont to lie in safety. On a rock, Ca an Duin, 
above the town may be seen the ruins of a round-tower ; and in the 
year 1900, after a severe storm which blew away the sand, the 
present writer was able to trace at least four similar round-towers 
placed in various positions around, and presumably for the defence 
of the said town. The ruins of Balmargait and the institutions on 
the islands in the neighbourhood already referred to, clearly indicate 
that there was once upon a time more life along the valley of the 
Naver than there is now. 

i. §uc isacgfr). 

B. 1210, C. 

—^fS the son of lye MacEth married the daughter of Walter, 
■j\ Bishop of Caithness, somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1263, 
it is reasonable to conclude that the father was over fifty years 
of age at the time of the son's marriage, especially seeing that the son 
was then old enough to act the part of chamberlain to the bishop. 
We have therefore fixed the date of lye MacEth's birth as about 
1210. But Kenneth, the leading representative of the MacEth 
family, fell in 1215, as already shown, so that as far as dates are 
concerned, lye MacEth may have been his sou or his nephew — from 
lack of evidence on the point, we cannot be more definite. This 
descent would make lye MacEth the great-grandson of Malcolm Mac- 
Eth, Earl of Ross, but whether through Kenneth or not remains 
uncertain. That he was a descendant of Malcolm, Earl of Ross, and 
the first of the family to settle permanently in Strathnaver, is all that 
the old family MS. account, on which the Blk. 318. bases its gene- 
alogy, seems to have recorded. 

In our introductory chapter we briefly showed how Malcolm IV., 
King of Scots, his brother William the Lyon, and Alexander II., son 
of the latter, assailed the MacEths, until in 1215 Kenneth MacEth 
was slain by Farquhar Macintaggart, afterwards Earl of Ross ; and 
we also showed how King Alexander pursued the rebellious ones to 



/, IYE MacETH. 



CHRON. of 

Strathnaver in 1223. The reign of Alexander II. was marked by 
great vigour. Caithness, Galloway, Argyle, and even the western 
isles, the quarters in which his sovereignty was disputed, he repeatedly 
attacked with wisdom and energy. Of some he took hostages, the 
lands of others he bestowed upon his own friends. In 1249 he made 
his last effort. With a large army he invaded Argyle, collected ships 
and prepared to sweep the Norseman from the western isles, vowing 
" that he would not desist until he had set his standards east on the 
cliffs of Thurso." Before he had practically begun operations, he was 
seized with illness and died, leaving his son and successor, Alexander 
III., a minor of only eight years of age. During the long minority of 
Alexander III., the reins of government naturally fell loose, and lye 
MacEth managed to secure some foot-hold in Strathnaver. 
The known issue of lye MacEth was three sons. 

B;.K. MS. 


lye Mor who succeeded, and of whom an account follows. 

Morgan, of whom nothing further is recorded. 

Martin, who is said to have settled in Galloway. It is pertinent 
to observe that years before this date the MacEths are found 
fighting in Galloway, and that Donald the son of Earl Malcolm 
was captured there. Owing to Norse influence in Galloway, 
the Isles, and Caithness, the adherents of the various rulers 
in these quarters passed to and fro. In the MS. of Andrew 
Symson, preserved in the Advocates' Library, the Mackies are 
said to have been in Galloway in the time of King Robert 
Bruce, and to have supported his cause. In 1339 Michael Mac- 
Ge, a land-holder in Galloway, submitted to Edward III. of 
England. As evidence of the supposed connection between the 
Mackays of Strathnaver and the Mackies of Galloway, we may 
mention that Sir Patrick Mackie of Lairg in Galloway led a 
company of the regiment commanded by Sir Donald, afterwards 
Lord Reay, in the service of the King of Denmark. 

II. guc Wov. 

M. 1263, C. 

Y^N" 1263 Walter de Baltrodi, formerly a Canon of Caithness, was 
1 confirmed 1 Bisliop of the diocese by Pope Urban IV. lye Mor 
became chamberlain to the bishop, married his daughter, and 
thereby obtained considerable power in Strathnaver. It is stated in 
the Housh of Forbes that the bishop's son-in-law possessed himself of 
twelve davochs of land in Durness, and that eventually the bishop 
gave legal title over these lands to his grandchild. We have already 
shown that there is documentary evidence to prove that the church of 
Caithness owned fifteen davochs of land in Durness. In a document 
describing the estate of Lord Reay (1797), preserved among the Reay 
Papers, we read, " Durness is a dry pretty spot ; the soil sandy, well 


peopled for its extent. It lies upon a bed of limestone which is here no. 57. 
found in the greatest abundance. It is considered the best grass and 
pasture ground in the north of Scotland, and it was of old the bishop 
of Caithness' sheiling or pasture farm." 

1. The document of confirmation, which is dated June 1263, proceeds :— " Verum quia dictus 
Walterus de honestate vite, grata mormu decentia, dono scientie littoralis, ac spiritualium et 
temporalium circumspecta prudentia laudabili testimonio commendatur: nos attendentes, quod 
ad personam eius vota dictorum Decani et Capituli, quibus unanime fuerat in ipsius ascriptione 
pvopositum, concorditer congruerant, eonsiderantes etiam eiusdem ecclesie paupertatem, (pie in 
tanta locorum distantia in gravia itinevum et viarum dispendia non posse absque gravi difficultate 
et onere expensaruin, nee non eupientes, vit,are perictilum, quod ex mora in talibus potest non 
immerito formidari, dignum duximus, ut circa provisionem ipsius ecclesie, que immediate dicte 
sedi subesse dinoscitur, faciendo specialem gratiam memorato Waltero, curemus apostolice sollici- 
tudinis studium adhibere." — Theiner's Monumenta Vetera, No. 229. 




Sir Robert Gordon says that the son-in-law of the bishop was 
called Walter, and the 1883 edition of the Houss of Forbes, from 
which we gave an extract in our Introductory chapter, agrees in this. 
But the version of the Houss of Forbes given in MacFarlane's 
Genealogical Collections, printed by the Scottish History Society, 
says that his name was John, and proceeds to say that the child 


borne to him by the bishop's daughter "after the country fashion was 
called McKy, which is the son of John." We believe the 1883 
edition was amended to bring it into conformity with Sir Robert 
Gordon's account, and not so trustworthy as that of MacFarlane, 
which was copied out about 1750 by an acknowledged genealogist. 
But the phrase " McKy which is the son of John " is a manifest 


1263] contradiction in terms. If the son was called Mcky to indicate his 

father, the father's name must have been lye. To this extent the 
Houss of Forbes bears out the contention of the old family MS. 
account, that the son-in-law of the bishop was lye Mor. 

During the minority of Alexander III., Farquhar Macintagart, Chkon op 
Earl of Ross, harried the western isles, especially Skye. His >lAX ' 
followers not only burnt villages and sacked churches, but ferociously 
ripped open pregnant women and raised on their spear-points helpless 
infants. Hakon, King of Norway, the nominal overlord of these 
islands, remonstrated with King Alexander, but in vain. In the 
summer of 1263 Hakon sailed for Scotland with a large fleet, and 
after various vicissitudes came at last to grief at Largs, more by 
stress of weather than by the prowess of the opposing Scottish army. 
With the remnants of his once imposing fleet he sailed away north- 
wards, called at Alsher on the west coast of Strathnaver, rounded 
Cape Wrath and came to anchor in Loch Eriboll. A party who tortus. 
landed at Eriboll in search of food and water were roughly handled 
by the natives of the place. 1 It is probable that lye Mor took an 
active part in this exploit, as the Bishop of Caithness, whose 
chamberlain he was, owned a considerable amount of land in the 
neighbourhood of Loch Eriboll, and it was the duty of lye Mor to 
protect it. It is also probable that this incident gave rise to the 
common tradition, that the Mackays obtained their first footing 
in Strathnaver in consequence of their prowess in opposing the 
Norsemen. The MacEths and the Norsemen often fought side by 
side, but now times were changed and they changed with them. 
Shortly thereafter, King Alexander for a sum of money purchased 
from the Norsemen any rights which they may have claimed over the 
western isles or other lands in Scotland, and thus settled the vexed 
Norse question. 

1. In Johnston's translation of The Norwegian Account of Haco's expedition (1782), we read that 
a detachment of the fleet on the outward voyage "sailed into Scotland under Dryness. They 
going up into the country destroyed a castle, but the garrison had fled. They burned more than 
twenty hamlets. Next they steered for the Hebrides." It was probably to avenge the earlier 
attack, that the men of Strath-Urradale fell upon Haco's foraging party on the return voyage. 



A contemporary of lye Mor was Johu Gruamach MacKay. 
Gruamach means taciturn. It is stated in the Knock MS. that 
Angus Mor of the Isles, the great-grandson of Somerled, had, by the 
daughter of John Gruamach MacKay, "the mother of the first laird 
of Macintosh ; for a son of MacDuff, thane of Fife, coming after 
man-slaughter to shelter himself in MacDonald's house, got her 
col. de eebi:s daughter with child, went to Ireland with Edward Bruce, where he 
was killed ; by which means Mackintosh is of natural descent, his 
progenitor being got in that maimer." As Angus Mor of the Isles 
was present at the Scottish parliament of 1284 and died before 1300, 
John Gruamach MacKay must have flourished during the time of lye 
Mor, but we have no means of connecting the one with the other. 
He may have been a brother but he cannot have been a son of lye 
Mor, for according to the Knock MS. his grand-daughter was old 
enough in 1315, when Edward Bruce passed over to Ireland, to bear 
a son to MacDuff. Perhaps we should not say that this was 
impossible, but it is more likely that John Gruamach resided in the 
neighbourhood of Islay, the seat of Angus Mor. 

In our Introductory Chapter we noticed how Mr Mackay of 
Blackcastle fell into the mistake of making Gilchrist Mac-Ivor Maclye 
of Kintyre a son of lye Mor of Strathnaver, and we need not enter 
further into the matter here. The lands which King Robert the 
Bruce confirmed to Gilchrist and his heirs were the two twopenny 
lands in Kintyre, viz., the pennyland of Ardermede, the pennyland 
of Balloscalfis, the pennyland of Kyllewillan, and the pennyland 
of Skelkamonsky. "These lands," says Blackcastle, "lie near 
Campbelton in Kintyre and belong to MacNeil of Ugadale, whose 
ancestor, Torquil MacNeil, married about 1690 Catherine, daughter 
and heiress of Mackay of Ugadale." 

The known issue of lye Mor was Donald, of whom we now 
proceed to give an account. 

No. 1. 

— i_£_j<i5"^~55s-^>— 

III. ^onaI6. 

C. 1300-30. 

--/fS lye Mor married the daughter of Bishop Walter about 1263, 
-T\ we presume that Donald was born sometime between that date 
and 1270. He married a daughter of lye, son of Neil of Gigha, 
an island lying close to the coast of Kintyre, between that and Islay. 
The distance to which Donald went in search of a wife, combined 
with the neighbourhood in which he found her, seem to indicate that 
there was at this time a close connection between the Mackays of 
Strathnaver and those of that name on the west coast of Argyle. 
We have found Mackays holding land in Kintyre at this early period, 
and there were others in the same quarter. The Knock MS. 
describing the state of matters during the time of Angus Og of the 
Isles, the attached friend of Robert the Bruce, proceeds : — 

" The constitution or government of the Isles was thus : MacDonakl 
had his council at Island Finlaggan, in Isla, to the number of sixteen, viz., 
four Thanes, four Armins, that is to say lords or sub-thanes, four 
Bastards, i.e., squires or men of competent estates who could not come up 
with Armins or Thanes, that is freeholders or men that had their lands in 
factory, as MacGe of the Rinds of Islay, MacNicol in Portree in Skye, 
and MacEachern, MacKay, and MacGillevray, in Mull." 

Thus we see there were contemporary with Donald of Strathnaver 
landed men of the name Mackay in the Rhins of Islay, in Mull, and 
in Kintyre ; while at a little later period Mackays appear in the 

41 F 

42 ///. DONALD 

registers holding lands and office in Bute. See our account of the 
Argyle Mackays. 

It would be interesting to know what part if any Donald of 
Stratlmaver took in the struggle for independence under Wallace and 
Bruce, when Scotland, Highland and Lowland, was stirred to its 
depths. In Hervey's Life of Bruce, in Gordon's Life of Bruce, and 
in General Stewart's Sketches of the Highlanders, the Mackays of 
Stratlmaver are mentioned as being present at the battle of Bannock- 
burn. We are not aware that they have substantial documentary 
evidence for this statement ; but there is no doubt that the Mackays 
of Isla, Mull, etc., who were dependants of Angus Og of the Isles, 
supported the cause which their superior so warmly espoused. 
Barbour, who is a competent authority, informs us that at Bannock- 
burn the Earl of Moray commanded the centre, Edward Bruce the 
right, and Sir James Douglas and Walter the Stewart commanded 
baeboue's the left on that fateful day. The same authority states that Bruce 
and Angus of the Isles commanded the reserve, consisting of the men 
of Argyle, Carrick, Kantire, the Isles, and Bute. When Donald of 
Strathnaver's wife's relatives and his kinsmen of the west were ranged 
under the banner of Scotland's deliverer, it is very likely that the 
Strathnavermen were not far away although Barbour does not 
chronicle the fact. 

In Haddington's Collection of Ancient Charters (the Earl of 
Haddington was Lord Clerk Register for Scotland in 1612) there is 
the following excerpt from a charter by a King Robert to a Mackay, 
of which we give a translation : — 

" King Eobert's charter to MacKay for attending annually at our war 
■when it shall happen with forty days' sustenance for his armed foot-men, 
and for performing other services as far as pertains to the said lands." 

This fragment does not tell us which King Robert it was, what 
the lands were, nor who the Mackay that possessed them. No doubt 
the original charter, which cannot now be found, made all this clear ; 


1300-30] but as in Haddington's day the prominent family of Mackay was the 
Strathnaver one, he may have concluded that the bald statement 
"Charter to Makaj " was sufficient for the purpose of identification. 
The King Robert, however, may be Robert II., who was on friendly 
terms with the Strathnaver Mackays, as shall soon appear. 

The known issue of Donald by the daughter of lye of Gigha was 
a son, lye, of whom an account now follows. 

IV. gge. 


*<-"} ETWEEN lye of Strathnaver and the family of Sutherland 
1 J there existed a protracted feud, which caused much blood- 
shed on either side, and occasioned the murder of lye at 
Dingwall in 1370. 1 Sir Robert Gordon says, "the Earl of Suther- 
land had great controversy with the house and family of Mackay, 
chief of the Clan Vic-Morgan of Strathnaver, which did continue a 
long time between the inhabitants of Sutherland and Strathnaver, 
although with some intermission." This account exactly corroborates 
Earl William's complaint in 1342, when he applied to the Pope 
for a dispensation of marriage with Margaret Bruce, against " an 
ancient enemy," who caused " wars, disputes, and many offences," in 
these parts. In the Papal dispensation, which is given at large in 
Theiner's Monumenta Vetera, p. 278, reference is made to the appli- 
cation thus: — 

" It sets forth that between the said Earl and Margaret and their fore- 
fathers and friends, by the wicked procuring of an ancient enemy (hostis 
antiqui nequitia procurante) there have arisen wars, disputes, and many 
offences, on which account murders, burnings, depredations, forays, and 
other evils have frequently happened and cease not to happen con- 
tinually, and many churches of these parts have suffered no small 
damages, and greater troubles are expected unless prevented by an 
immediate remedy." 

1. Sir Robert Gordon committed some mistakes in his account of this incident. He says lye 
was murdered in 1395 by Nicholas, Earl of Sutherland, the predecessor of Earl Robert. But Sir 
Wm. Eraser shows that there was no Earl Nicholas, and that the immediate predecessor of Earl 
Robert was Earl William, who flourished 1333-70. Consequently, on Sir Robert's own showing, the 
author of this deed was Earl Wm., and it must have taken place in or before 1370. 



1342] With reference to the complaint, Sir Wm. Fraser observes, " in 

this case it may refer to the disturbed condition of the country or 
perhaps of Sutherland." We believe his surmise is correct. If the 
Mackays are descended from Malcolm MacEth, Earl of Ross, as we 
contend they are, the family might well be called an " ancient enemy " 
who gave trouble to the Scots kings and their henchmen iu the far 
north, the Earls of Sutherland. And according to Hailes, Cosmo 
Lines, etc., it was only in the second or third generation after Hugo 
Freskin that the family of Sutherland was able to effect a permanent 
settlement in Sudcrland — that is to say, in the days of the grandfather 
or father of this Earl William. From the time of this latter Earl 
William we have authentic evidence that the Sutherlands and 
Mackays were at daggers drawn ; before his time the mist lies too 
heavy for us to know much. In the circumstances, we repeat, the 
family of Mackay might well be called an "ancient enemy" of the 
house of Sutherland. 

The Blh. MS. reads :— 

"In consequence of disputes existing at this time between the Earl of 
Sutherland and MacKay a meeting was agreed upon to settle the matter 
in dispute. The meeting took place at Dingwall in Ross in 1370, at 
which were present the. Earl of Sutherland and his brother Nicolas, and 
MacKay and his son Donald, and other chieftains to act as umpires and 
decide in the matter submitted. MacKay was about to succeed in his 
claim, and the Sutherlands became so irritated and enraged that Nicolas 
Sutherland rose in the night-time and basely murdered MacKay and his 
son Donald. Nicolas leaving Dingwall Castle fled and escaped, although 
pursued by MacKay's attendants." 

Sir Robert Gordon, whose version of the affair is iu substantial 
agreement with the above, except in the details already pointed out, 
says that the meeting took place in Dingwall Castle, and that one of 
the arbiters was the Lord of the Isles. We may also conclude that 
the Earl of Ross was one of the arbiters of a case tried at his own 
castle, and it is not unlikely that the Earl of Buchan, justiciar for the 
north, would likewise be present. 

n., in. 

46 IV. IYE 

We are not told what were the subjects in dispute, but we have 
not far to go in search of one bone of contention. On the 10th Oct. 
1345 King David conferred by charter the earldom of Sutherland in 
regality upon William, Earl of Sutherland, and his spouse Margaret, 
suthr. book * ne king's sister, and upon the legitimate heirs begotten between 
them (heredes inter ipsos legitime procreandi). This charter gave 
Earl Wm. almost kingly power in Suderland, which he would not be 
slow to put into execution against the " ancient enemy " of his house. 
Of this marriage between Earl Wm. and Margaret Bruce only one 
son, John, was born when Margaret died, and Wm. married a second 
time. As King David was childless he intended John of Sutherland 
to succeed him in the throne, and bestowed lands north, south, east, 
and west upon the Earl of Sutherland, who in turn gave many of 
these lands away to Scottish nobles, in order to secure their support 
when the time came for his son to claim the throne of Scotland. But 
John of Sutherland died of the plague in London, leaving no issue, 
shortly before the demise of his uncle the king, and the hopes of both 
David and the Earl of Sutherland were thus balked. By the death 
of his son, Sutherland's regality so far as his descendants were con- 
cerned went up in smoke — he had now no heir by Margaret to retain 
these charter rights. 

King David, the unfortunate and worthless son of the great Bruce, 
died on the 22ncl Feb. 1370, and was succeeded in the throne by his 
nephew, Robert II. It is notorious that the relations between David 
and his nephew, Robert, were of a strained character, partly on 
account of David's partiality for his nephew of Sutherland. As 
Robert If., though a fair and just monarch, was only human, it is 
natural to expect that he would make the Earl of Sutherland realise 
how changed his position now was. About this time the king's 
physician was Farquhar, the son of lye of Strathnaver, a scion of the 
house of the " ancient enemy," and one who had a charter from the 
Earl of Buchan, confirmed by his father, the king, 4th Sep. 1379, of 
the lands of Melness, etc., in the parish of Durness, as "Fercardo 


1370] medico nostra." With the Earl of Buchan, Robert II. 's son, justiciar 

of the north, it suited the royal policy to bring pressure upon the Earl 
of Sutherland by favouring the " ancient enemy," Mackay of Strath- 
naver. Although the regality of the Earl of Sutherland only extended 
to Suderland and did not include Strathnaver, lye Mackay had lands 
in Suderland down to the borders of Ross which would be involved, 
as is abundantly proved by the extensive possessions of the family in 
these parts a generation later, when documents begin to turn up. 
lye of Strathnaver, resenting the vexing claim of Sutherland's powers 
of regality over him, sought to have the matter submitted to arbi- 
tration in the then favourable circumstances. When he was just 
within sight of a favourable judgment, the knife of the assassin, 
Mcolas, finished the unsuspecting father and son at the dead of night 
in Dingwall Castle. 

The claim of feudal superiority by the family of Sutherland over 
that of Mackay, from this date henceforward, made so unjustly, 
persistently, and offensively by Sir Robert Gordon, cannot be allowed 
to pass without further notice, because 230 years later it developed 
into a shameless imposition upon King James VI. On the 29th Apr. 
1601 James VI. was led to give a charter to John, Earl of Suther- 
land, and to his heirs, by which the charter of regality granted by 
David II. in 1345 to the Earl of Sutherland as aforesaid was con- 
firmed, under the impression that it was still valid, and extended now 
so as to include Strathnaver. That this was an imposition upon the 
king is proved by the fact that in the document resigning the herit- 
able sheriffship of Sutherland, dated 26th Aug. 1631, and forming part 
of the regality, it is clearly stated that the charter of 1601 was given §o™ ? , 
by Kiug James under the impression that the then Earl of Sutherland 
was a descendant of Margaret Bruce, daughter of King Robert. Sir 
Wm. Fraser in the Sutherland Book puts it mildly when he says, " It 
was long a belief in the Sutherland family, which was fostered if not 
originated by Sir Robert Gordon, that by the marriage of Wm. 5th 
Earl of Sutherland to Margaret Bruce, the blood of the royal family 

Dates and 

48 IF. IYE 

of Brace ran in their veins." The truth is Sir Robert was the author 
of a fraud in 1601. But of this matter enough anon. 1 

By this time the Clan Morgan of Strathnaver must have attained 
to considerable power before it could give so much trouble to Earl 
William of Sutherland, notwithstanding his royal backing. When 
the veil over early Scottish history is removed a little further, about 
40 years after this date, we shall find members of the clan occupying 
land in Suderland and Ross, and the Chief strong enough to beard 
Donald, Lord of the Isles, at Dingwall. The known issue of lye 
was : — ■ 


Donald, who was killed along with his father at Dingwall Castle, 
and of whom a short account follows. 

Si'thr. Book. 

ii. Farquhar, 2 who was a physician to King Robert II. and in favour 
with the King's son, the Earl of Buchan. In the old family 
MS. account he is claimed as a son of lye ; and in our Introduc- 
tory chapter we have shown by documentary evidence how his 
descendants signed themselves Mackay. He obtained by royal 
charter the lands of Melness, Hope, etc., in 1379, and the islands 
lying round Strathnaver in 1386. 
The writer of the Old Statistical Account of the parish of Edder- 
achilis asserts, without giving any reason but tradition, that 
Farquhar was a Beaton and a native of Islay. He also gives a 
very incorrect account of the manner in which his lands were 
secured by the leading family of Mackay. This tradition 
probably developed from the fact that a Beaton was physician 
Vol.'i. " to James VI., as the inscription on the said Beaton's tombstone 

in Iona, dated 1657, shows. 

Hi. Mariota, who was the handfasted wife of the Earl of Buchan, 
popularly known as the " Wolf of Badenoch," and the mother of 
his children. We are strongly inclined to believe that "Mariota 
filia Athyn " was the daughter of lye of Strathnaver, and that 

1. We shall in the proper place show how George, 5th Earl of Huntly, chancellor of Scotland, 
obtained the superiority of Strathnaver in 1567 from Queen Mary in a very left-handed way, to say 
the least of it : and how the (ith Karl of Huntlv gave the superiority of Strathnaver to his uncle, 
the Karl of Sutherland, in exchange for the lands of Aboyne in 1583. In 1(501 the gift of Huntly 
was converted into a charter of regality as above stated. As the facts come to light, it will be 
seen that Sir Robert Gordon had little cause to crow over Sutherland's " superiority." 

2. At the west end of Farr churchyard stands a sculptured stone with Celtic cross and tracery, 
locally known as Clach Erchar, Stone'of Farquhar. It may mark the grave of Farqul ar mac lye, 
the king's physician, and is supposed to do so. 


1389] Athyn is another barbarous Latin form of the much-metamor- Cart. mor. 

phosed name lye. This would to some extent explain the Earl 
of Buchan s friendship with Farquhar, and enable us to find a 
reason for a party of Mackays supporting Duncan Stewart, son 
of Buchan, in a raid to the Braes of Angus in 1391. If our 
theory be correct it supplies a motive for Angus Du Mackay's 
opposition to Donald, Lord of the Isles, at Dingwall in 1411, 
shortly before the latter met the Earl of Mar, a son of Buchan, 
at Harlaw. According to our theory the Earl of Mar and 
Angus Du would be first and second cousins. The issue of the 
Eail of Buchan by Mariota was : Alexander, Earl of Mar ; 
Andrew ; Walter ; James ; Duncan ; and Margaret, who married 
Robert, Earl of Sutherland. 


K. 13/0. 

£^XONALD was murdered in 1370, along with his father, in 
^-L/ Dingwall Castle by Nicolas Sutherland, as already described. 
His known issue was four sons : — 

i. Angus, who succeeded his grandfather lye, and of whom an 
account follows. 

ii. Huistean Pu, who became tutor to Angus Du, son of his elder 
brother Angus, during his nephew's minority. 

Hi. Martin, of whom nothing is known save that he settled in 
Galloway, according to Sir Robert Gordon. 

iv. Neil, who seems to have settled in Creich, for his three sons, 
Thomas, Morgan, and Neil had lands there, and in the neigh- 
bourhood. Thomas Neilsou held the lands of Creich, etc., of his 
cousin Angus Du, and was executed at Inverness, probably in 
1426, for the slaughter of Mowat of Bucholly. Morgan Neilson 
married a daughter of Angus Moray of Cubin and seems to have 
settled in Brae-Chat. Neil Neilson also married a daughter 
of the said Angus Moray, and obtained from King James I. 

scot fili' 636 * n 1430 a charter of the lands of Creich, Gairloch, etc., 

escheated from his deceased brother, Thomas. The sons of Neil 
Neilson were : — John Bain who settled in Caithness and became 
the progenitor of the Bains in that county ; Angus progenitor of 

suthr! 65 & the Siol-Angus ; and Paul who became progenitor of the Poisons 

303 - and some MacPhails. 



1172-89] In connection with the signature of a Hugh Poison to a grant of 

the lands of Thorboll. dated 1472, it is suggested in the Origines 
Parochiales Scotia?, Vol. II., part ii., p. 686, that the Poisons were 
descended of a Paul Mactyre who flourished in Creich about a 
hundred years before that. This suggestion has been accepted n., no. 538. 
by many, but we dispute it. The surname Mactyre continued 
in use by the family in 1472 and after it. A William McTeyr 
protested that he was not bound to give attendance at the head 
courts for the lands of Achnaplad, on 27th Feb. 1483. Achna- 
plad Ave take to be Plads near Dornoch. Marsella McTyre had 
sasine of the lands of Inverathy, as heir to her father, William no°ii R ™i BK ' 
Maktyre, on 6th July 1489. 

Not only do we maintain that the Poisons are descended of 
MacKay, but we also maintain that a section at least of the 
MacPhails sprang from the same root. A cursory examination 
of the list of tenants on the Reay estates about 1678, printed in 
our Appendix, will show what a number of MacPhauls there 
were anion g: them. 



VI. ^htgits. 


-^'NGUS, a youth, succeeded his grandfather lye, and the blood- 
feud between the Mackays and Sutherlands raged, although 
somewhat abated, according to Sir Robert Gordon, during the 
time of Earl Robert of Sutherland who married a daughter of the 
Earl of Buchan, and succeeded Earl William. It may be significant 
that Earl William passed away in 1370, the year in which the 

suthr. book. Mackays, father and son, were murdered. It may be quite true that 
he got his quietus at the hands of the avenging Mackays, as is 
suggested in the House and Clan of Maekay. 

In 1391 Duncan Stewart, son of the Earl of Buchan, invaded the 
Braes of Angus at the head of a host of Highland caterans, as Bower 
calls them. They were met at Gasklune, near the water of Isla, by 
Walter Ogilvy then sheriff of Angus, Sir David Lindsay of Glenesk, 
Sir Patrick Gray, &c, when the mail-clad gentry of the east were 
simply cut to pieces by the tartan-clad mountaineers of the north. 
Ogilvy with his brother Wat, Young of Auchterlony, the lairds of 
Cairncross, Forfar, and Guthrie, together with GO men-at-arms were 
slain, while Sir Patrick Gray and Sir David Lindsay were sorely 

cfcr™° N ' s wounded. So fiercely did these Highlanders fight that one of them, 
though transfixed by a spear and pinned through the body to the 
earth, swinging his claymore cut through the stirrup-iron and steel- 



1391] boot of his assailant reaching the bone, and then expired. Among 

these so called caterans 1 were John Mathyson and his adherents, 

Acts 01** Par 

Morgownde Roryson and Michael Mathowson with their adherents, i, 579. 
The above were clearly, as their names indicate, the Mathiesons of 
Sutherland and the Morgans of Strathnaver, associated with a son of 
the Earl of Buchan, now also Earl of Ross. 

Angus married a daughter of Torquil Macleod of the Lews, and 
had issue two sons. The said Torquil obtained by charter, during 
the reign of David II., four davochs of land and a castle in Assynt, Robertson's 

& ' •> ' Index. 

on the west coast of Sutherland. The two sons of Angus Mackay 
were : — 

i. Angus Du, who succeeded, and of whom an account follows. 

ii. Eorie Gald, or Rorie the islander, so called from the fact that he 
was fostered by maternal relatives in the Lews. Rorie Gald 
fell in the battle near Dingwall when Angus Du endeavoured 
to check Donald, Lord of the Isles, in 1411, as shall appear 

1. The name cateran is often applied to Highlanders as a term of reproach by historians even 
of the middle of last century. It is the Anglicized form of the Gaelic, ceatharuach, a valiant 
fellow, and cognate with the Latin, quaternion. 


VIT. Jlnpus Pit. 


<<77UISTEAN DU, who became tutor to his youthful nephew, 
<il Angus Du, on his father's death, offended the widowed mother 
whether justly or unjustly we cannot say. The relations 
between the two became so strained that her brother, Malcolm, son of 
Torquil Macleod of the Lews aud Assynt, invaded Strathnaver with a 
body of men laying waste part of that oountry as well as Brae-Chat. 
Macleod was overtaken by the Mackays at a place now called 
Tuiteam Tarvach, in Strathoikel, making his way back to Assynt 
encumbered with spoil, and there was defeated and slain about 1406. 
The battle is known as La Tuiteam Tarvach, the Day of Great 
Slaughter, of which Sir Robert Gordon records that only one Macleod 
survived to carry the tale of disaster to the Lews. This need not be 
strictly accurate, as the same story is told of other Highland battles. 
Sir Robert also says that the Earl of Sutherland sent his friend, 
Alexander Moray of Cubin, with a body of Sutherland men to assist 
the Mackays. This latter statement is not at all likely to be true. 
The murder of the Mackays, father and son, at Dingwall in 1370, 
could not yet be forgotten, neither can we reconcile this statement 
with the bloody feud which we know existed between the Mackays 
and Cubin a few years later. Sir Robert has a knack, as we shall see 
afterwards, of generally claiming the credit of what he considers a 
valorous deed for Sutherland. It is so we believe in this case. 



1411] On the death of Alexander, Earl of Ross, about 1410, his only 

child, the deformed Euphemia, by his wife a daughter of Robert, 
Earl of Fife and Duke of Albany, took the veil and resigned the 
earldom to her uncle, the Earl of Buchan, a son of Albany. Donald, 
Lord of the Isles, however, claimed the earldom through his wife a 
sister of the late Alexander, Earl of Ross. Donald's claim seems 
a just one, as Euphemia by taking the veil became legally dead ; but 
the prize was too good for the Stewarts to drop without a struggle. 
The unscrupulous Regent Albany naturally supported the cause of 
his son of Buchan, and the Earl of Mar, a son of the " Wolf," also 
joined Buchan. Angus Du of Strathnaver was likewise induced to 
join the confederacy, partly by reason of his relation to the Earl of 
Mar, whose cousin we believe him to be, and partly in consequence 
of his landed interests in Ross. When Donald of the Isles marched 
on Dingwall, in the spring of 1411, Angus Du at the head of 4000 
men endeavoured to bar the way, but was overpowered and captured 
while his brother Roric Gald was slain. Angus Du was sent prisoner 
to a castle on the west coast, and Donald of the Isles advanced 
towards Aberdeen to be checked at Harlaw by the Earl of Mar. 

After Donald's return from bloody Harlaw he made some alliance 
with Angus Du, and to this end bestowed upon him the hand of his 
sister, Elizabeth, in marriage. Shortly thereafter the friendship was 
still further strengthened by a charter of the lands of Strathhalladale, no P T dix: 
Creich, &c., dated 8th Oct., 1415, by Donald of the Isles to Angus 
Du and his sou, Neil, by the said Elizabeth. As the sequel will 
show, these lands were given sometime thereafter by Angus Du to 
his cousin Thomas Neilson of Creich, probably to cement the families 
more firmly together. 

Hector Boece informs us that Angus Du " tuk an gret prey of 
gudis out of Moray and Caithness," but Sir Robert Gordon objects 
to the former raid though he acknowledges the latter. Sir Robert's 
objection to the former rests upon the slender ground, that Moray 
lies at such a distance from Caithness and Strathnaver that a raid 


across Sutherland and Ross is improbable if not impossible. We 
hold a different opinion. Nicolas Sutherland, who murdered the 
Mackay chieftains at Dingwall in 13/0, obtained lands in Moray and 
the half of Caithness by his marriage with a daughter of Reginald 
Chein. 1 The King of Scots was a prisoner in England, the country 
was distracted north and south, the strong hand had the guiding o't, 
and Angus Du was strong with free access to Ross, as we saw iu 
1411. What more natural than that he should make a raid upon 
Moray, now in the possession of the heirs of Nicolas Sutherland ? 
The murder of the chieftains at Dingwall was not avenged yet, for 
their fall weakened the Mackays at the time, and Angus VI. did not 
live long enough to discharge this once sacred duty. Sir Robert 
would have us believe that the Mackays had already forgiven and 
forgotten the blood so treacherously shed by Nicolas little more than 
fifty years before. We do not believe a word of it. The Christian 
grace of forgiveness was not so developed in the Mackays of that 
period as to make them deaf to the cries of the murdered slain ; 
and holding that opinion we do believe, upon the authority of Boece, 
that Angus Du spoilt Moray to his heart's content. 

Angus in an impartial spirit next turned his attention to Caith- 
ness, where Nicolas had large possessions also. Sir Robert records 
that in 1426 he invaded "Caithness with all hostility and spoilt the 
same," fighting a pitched battle with the men of Caithness on 
Harpsdale Hill, about two miles south of Halkirk village. Some 
modern writers, notably the author of The Gumis, have supposed that 
Harpsdale Hill was fought between the Mackays and the Gunns. 
For this view there is no confirmation, that we are aware of. We do 

1. Reginald Chein was the third and last of that name in succession. As he left no male issue 
his landed estates passed to his two daughters, Mary and Margery. The former, Mary, married 
first John of Douglas, and secondly John Keith of Inverugy. It was by this marriage that the 
Keiths obtained a footing in Caithness. Margery Chein, who married Nicolas Sutherland, had 
before 1370a charter from King David II. "of the lands of Strabrok and the half of Catness" 
(Robertson's Index, No. 17). These lands of course passed to her children by Nicolas. Various 
traditions are afloat in the north regarding Reginald Chein, who is supposed to have been a great 
Nimrod. One is that he built a house on the bank of the Thurso river at its exit from Lochmor, 
so connected with salmon-cruives on the stream that a bell rang in the house whenever a fish 
became entangled in the cruives. Exactly the same story is current in Strathnaver with regard to 
a similar structure by him on the river Naver, somewhere near Achness (of old called Kerrow na 


1427] not know of any cause of dispute between these two clans at that 

period ; but between the Mackays and the descendants of Nicolas, 
who held lands in Moray and Caithness, there was a bitter feud. 
But if Angus Du had his revenge, he was soon made to suffer for his 
summary execution of what he thought to be justice. 

King James I., who at the age of fourteen was captured by the 
English in 1405 on his voyage to France, remained a prisoner in 
England until 1424. On his return to Scotland he found the country 
in a very distracted state, and inoculated with English feudal ways, 
he resolved to apply drastic, if foolish remedies. In 1427 he came 
north iu person and held a Parliament at Inverness, to which he 
summoned the Highland chieftains as members. These chieftains, 
unsuspicious of any treachery, trooped to meet their king, but no 
sooner did they appear than forty of them were clapped in irons, to 
the great gratulation of the monarch. Among these were Alexander, 
Lord of the Isles; Angus Du of Strathnavcr, "a leader of 4000 Fordun, 


men ; " Kenneth Mor and his son ill law ; Angus Moray and 
MacMathan, each leaders of 2000 men. Angus Du was soon released, 
but his eldest son Neil was retained as a hostage and sent for a time 
to the Bass Rock. The fierce independent chieftains of Scotland 
resented these autocratic measures, and ten years thereafter King 
James was murdered at Perth. 

Not long after the Inverness Parliament, Thomas Neilson Mackay 
of Creich, first cousin of Angus Du, fell upon Mowat of Freswick earld. of 


somewhere in the neighbourhood of Tain, and pursuing him into the 

chapel of St. Duthus fired it, killing Mowat. As William Mowat of 
Loscragy gave the Caithness lands of Freswick and Auchingill in ^°1S. 
wadset to his son John, in 1410, it is evident that the Mowats had at 
this period lands in Moray and Caithness. They were thus neighbours 
of the Duffus family in both countries, and likely helped them against 
the Mackays in the prosecution of the feud. We believe this explains 
the Tain episode. The sacrilege gave great offeuce. To kill Mowat 
was one thing, to burn a consecrated chapel was quite another 



matter. The former might be ignored, but the latter could not. 
Such were the religious conceptions of the time ! Anyway, Thomas 
was outlawed, and his lands promised to such as should apprehend 
him. But we fancy it was not an easy matter to lay Thomas by the 
heels without some stratagem. 

As fate would have it, Angus Moray of Cubiu, 1 a retainer of the 
house of Sutherland, had two daughters, one married to Neil and 
the other to Morgan, both brothers of Thomas Neilson Mackay. 
Instigated by Angus Moray, says Sir Robert Gordon, they basely 
betrayed their brother, who was captured and beheaded at Inverness. 
The lands of Thomas were divided among the three by charters from 

beo.mag. sig th e kill £'> dated 20tl1 Mar -> 143 °- An S us Moray got Spinnydale, 
Invercarron, and Polrossie in the south, and Bighouse, the two 
Tran ties, and the two Forsies in Strathalladale. Neil Neilson got 
Creich, Garloch, Daane, Moyzelblary, Conzcorth, Tuttin-Tarwach, 
Langort, and Amayde. Morgan Neilson got Golval and Balnaheglish 
in Strathalladale, Achanies, Altasmore, Leynfatmore, and Inveran. 
These lands scattered throughout Strathnaver, Sutherland, and Ross, 
indicate the vast power and possessions of Thomas Neilson Mackay. 
Part of these lands, if not all, were held by Angus Du and his heirs 
on the charter of 1415 from Donald, Lord of the Isles, so that 
Thomas must have held them of Angus. The king, however, appears 
to have ignored that charter ; he may not have been aware of its 
existence at the time. When in 1506, at the instigation of lye Roy 
Mackay of Strathnaver, the charter of 1415 was recorded in the books 
of the Lords of Council, note was taken of the fact that enemies 
tried to destroy the charter in these words, "notwithstanding the 
cancellatione and rivin of the samyne, reklesly and in the bak, be evil 
disposit persons." We have no doubt who those enemies were. 
They were representatives of those who tried to get behind this same 
charter in 1430. We shall afterwards see that Strathalladale proved 

1. Cubin lies within the old province of Moray, close by the month of the Findhorn. Moray of 
Cubin had lands aiso in Sutherland. 


1433] something of a white elephant to the Morays owing to the hostility of 

the Mackays, and that they were glad to alienate their claim to it for 
the paltry sum of 1000 merks. The Mackays sold it in 1830 for 
£58,000 stg. 

The fall of Thomas Neilson of Creich must have been a severe 
blow to the power of Angus Du. It encouraged Angus Moray and 
his sons-in-law to project an invasion of Strathnaver, in the hope of 
overthrowing Angus Du himself and possessing his lands. In these 
projected measures they had the "attollerance" of the Earl of 
Sutherland, as Sir Robert Gordon says ; and whatever he would have 
us understand by the word he makes it clear that in this case it 
meant his active support. With the men of Caithness thirsting for 
the revenge of Harpsdale Hill on his left flank, the situation was very 
critical for Angus Du. Not only did he lack the powerful support of 
his dead cousin of Creich, but his eldest son, Neil, was still from 
home a hostage, and he was himself quite unable to lead his men 
owing to some infirmity. The duty of warding off the attack in this 
hour of deadly peril devolved upon Ian Aberach, 1 not yet out of his 
teens, and right nobly did he respond. 

In 1433, according to the Blk. 3IS., Angus Moray of Cubin with 
all the forces he could muster in Sutherland, to the number of 1500, 
advanced towards Tongue by way of Lairg, Shiness, and Crask-Rorie 
accompanied by his sons-in-law, Morgan and Neil Neilsou. The 
strategy of Mackay was to lure them on as far as possible before 
giving battle. They were met at Drum nan Coup, at the head of a 

1. Ian Aberach was the eldest son of Angus Du by his second wife, a daughter of Alexander 
Carrach Macdonald of Keppoch, as shall be afterwards shown ; and was fostered by maternal 
relatives in Lochaber, hence his name Ian Aberach, John the Lochaber man. We shall "here relate 
a tradition regarding the meeting of father and son on the eventful eve of the battle of Drum nan 
Coup. When Ian arrived at Tongue from Lochaber, his father determined to test his spirit in a 
quaint fashion. He ordered food to be spread for his son in a room where a large boar-hound was 
placed, The tierce brute, looking upon the food as under its charge, prepared to~show fight as soon 
as the Aberach entered ; but Ian nothing daunted drew his dirk, closed with the hound, and soon 
dispatched it. The father delighted with his son's intrepidity exclaimed, " Dhearbh thu fuil do 
chridhe," you have proved the blood of your heart. It may well be imagined his clansmen caused 
these words to ring throughout Strathnaver after the further proof they had of his valour on the 
field of Drum nan Coup. Be that as it may, this incident is traditionally reported to have 
occasioned the slogan " Dearbh do chridhe," prove thy heart, with which the Aberach Mackays 
were afterwards wont to rush into battle. That of the other branches of the clan is " Bi treun," 
be valiant. The latter slogan, in the Latin form " Maim forti," is now the motto of Mackay. 


pass to the north of Ben Loyal within two miles of Castle Varrich 1 , 
by about an equal number of men under Ian Aberach, who was 
accompanied to the field by his helpless father borne in a litter. 
When the men of Sutherland understood that the opposing leader 
was but a lad, they tauntingly shouted " Cuiridh sinne buarach air an 
laogh ud," we will put a cow shackle on yonder calf. The Mackays, 
securely posted with their backs to the brae, hurled defiance at their 
foes and gave them a long-range discharge of arrows. The Suther- 
land men came on with great impetuosity and confidence, but the 
Mackays, who had the advantage of position and were fresh while the 
former were fatigued with their long march, received the shock firmly, 
and after some fierce fighting eventually drove them back down the 
pass in confusion, killing Angus Moray and his confederate sons-in- 
law. As the weary fugitives swarmed up the slopes of Ben Loyal 
they were killed mercilessly and in great numbers. The chase was 
continued to Ath Charrie, a ford on the stream running into Loch 
Loyal, where a stone marks the graves of the last party killed in the 
flight. This splendid victory was the Bannockburn of the Mackays— 
it saved their country from greedy and unnatural usurpers — but it was 
saddened by the fall of Angus Du, slain by the arrow of a Sutherland 
man lurking in a bush, as he was being carried in his litter over the 
field after the flight of the enemy. 

In Bower's Continuation of Fordun, in Leslie's Historia 
Scotorum, in Balfour's Annals, and in Gordon's Earldom of 
Sutherland reference is made to this battle. Bower, who misdates 
it and from whom Gordon seems to quote, would have us believe that 
the combatants practically exterminated one another at Drum nan 
Coup. This is not in agreement with the traditions of the country, 
and ill accords with what took place soon thereafter at Tom an Dris 
and at Sandside. The fall of Angus Du himself may have given rise 

1. Castle Varrich stands on a rock above the river Verry, which flows into the Kyle of Tongue. 
Some little distance up the stream lies Inchverry. Evidently Varrich is a slightly corrupt form of 
Verry, hurling. It is a mistake to connect Varrich with St. Barr, and to make this ancient strong- 
hold of Mackay a bishop's tower. Besides there is no proof that a Barr was ever Bishop of 


1433] ^0 the rumour of the battle which went south, that the Mackays 

suffered as severely as the Morays. 

"Donald of the Isles," writes Sir Kobert Gordon, "having detyned 
Angus Dow a while in captivitie, released him, and gave him his daughter 
in marriage, whom Angus Dow careid home with him into Strathnaver, 
and had a son by her called Neill Wasse, so named because he was 
inrprisoned in the Basse." 

Sir Robert is mistaken in saying that the first wife of Angus Du 
was a daughter of Donald, Lord of the Isles. She was not his 
daughter, but his sister, Elizabeth, as is clearly stated in the charter 
of 1415. As this marriage did not take place till after the battle at 
Dingwall in 1411, and as John, Lord of the Isles (father of Elizabeth 
by his wife a daughter of King Robert II.), died in 1380, according 
to the Book of Clanranald, the lady must have been somewhat 
advanced in years at the time of her marriage and incapable of 
bearing many children. It is more than probable that Neil Vass was 
the only child of the marriage, and that Lady Elizabeth died soon 
after the charter of 1415 was granted. 

Angus Du married, secondly, a daughter of Alexander Carrach 
MacDonald of Keppoch, son of John, Lord of the Isles, by his wife 
Margaret, daughter of King Robert II. In the Knock MS. history of col. pe rebus 
MacDonald we read as follows : — " Hugh Mackay of Strathnaver was 
taken, who married thereafter a daughter of Alexander MacDonald of 
Keppoch, of whom descended the race of Mackays called Slioc Ean 
Abrich? The historian here also has committed a mistake in naming 
Mackay of Strathnaver Hugh instead of Angus ; but he makes clear 
that such a marriage took place, and that one of the sons of this 
marriage was Ian Aberach, from whom descended the Aberach 
Mackays. We are thus particular because Sir Robert Gordon, who 
never misses an opportunity of besmirching the family of Mackay, 
dubs Ian Aberach " bastard," and this statement of his has been 
slavishly copied by other writers since. It ill becomes Sir Robert to 
sneer at bastards, for he narrowly escaped being one himself. When 
his father, the Earl of Sutherland, married his mother, the divorced 


wife of Bothwell, a dispensation from the Pope had to be obtained to 
make the marriage legitimate. 1 By the canon law of Rome, which 
had force in Scotland until after the Reformation, marriage with a 
deceased wife's niece, or even with a cousin thrice removed, was 
within the forbidden degree of consanguinity ; and as the second wife 
of Angus Du was a niece of the first, the marriage came under the 
ban of the Romish Church. That is all. The only difference between 
Sir Robert Gordon and Ian Aberach is this : the former was made 
legitimate by a Papal dispensation, as documents extant amply prove, 
the latter may have been made legitimate in a similar way, but we 
cannot meantime lay our hands upon the documents. The known 
issue of Angus Du was five sons : — 

i. Neil Vass Mackay, by the first wife, and of whom an account 

ii. Ian Aberach, by the second wife. He became progenitor of the 
Aberachs. a branch of which we give a genealogical account 

o o o 

later on. 

Hi. Roderick, whose son, Donald, is mentioned in a decreet of the 
Lords of Council against the Mackays of Strathnaver in 1501. 

iv. William, who is designated Angus Duff's son, and whose son, John, 
is included in the above decreet. 

v. Angus, who had a son John, whose son, Angus, is designated of 
[Spenziedale, Creich. This latter Angus granted sasine to his 
son-in-law, Roderick Murray, on the lands of Spanziedale and 
Bighouse, as is made clear in the title-deeds of the estate of 
Bighouse, of which a copy is preserved in the Blk. MS. It is 
more than likely that Murray contracted this marriage in order 
to fortify his family in the possession of Bighouse, which Angus 
Du obtained by charter in 1415, but which the king gave to the 
Murrays in 1430. We shall afterwards show that there was a 
flaw in the king's gift of 1430, or rather that it was unjust. 

1. Alex., Earl of Sutherland, discarded his first wife, Lady Barbara Sinclair, daughter of the 
Karl of Caithness, and married Lady Jane Gordon, the divorced wife of Bothwell. " Sir Robert 
Gordon was a son of this second marriage, and would have been a bastard were it not for the gold 
which his father paid to the Pope for a dispensation. 

VIII. 2Ici( iiass. 


"+"^OR some years after the death of his father Neil continued in 
JjT captivity, and the maintenance of the interests of the Mackays 
of Strathnaver devolved during the interval upon Ian 
Aberach. Sir Robert Gordon relates that the Earl of Sutherland was 
greatly enraged at the news of Drum nan Coup, that he drove Ian 
Aberach into the western isles, and that on the Aberach's return at 
Christmas following he pursued him a second time " so eagcrlie, that 
he was constrained to submit himselff, and crave him pardon for his 
offence, which he obtained upon his submission." That the Earl of 
Sutherland was angry is likely, but that he carried out these 
wonderful expeditions, or that Ian Aberach came to Dunrobin to beg 
pardon for fighting at Drum nan Coup, we are sceptical enough not 
to believe. This is, in our opinion, fictional history written to support 
a fictional claim of Sutherland's " superiority " over Mackay. 

As Angus Moray, according to Sir Robert Gordon, gathered "a 
company of Sutherlandmen with Earle Robert his attollerance," we 
are justified in believing that his force of 1500 men represented the 
collective strength of that country. It is but reasonable to conclude 
that on such a hazardous expedition all their available strength would 
be employed ; and judging from its population the country was not 
capable of turning any more men into the field. But this force was 
effectually broken to pieces at Drum nan Coup and all its leaders 
slain. As we do not believe the Earl of Sutherland was able to raise 


64 Till. NEIL TASS 

the dead on the slopes of Ben Loyal by the blast of a trumpet, we 
fail to understand where he got the men to carry out these 
Munchausen expeditions. We do acknowledge, however, that 
many attempts were made to assassinate Ian Aberach by Sutherland- 
men, who came north in various disguises to avenge the death of 
fallen relatives, and that consequently he often had to pass the night 
for safety in a most inaccessible rocky fastness, near Castle Varrich, 
called to this day Leabaidh Ian Aberich, that is John of Lochaber's 
bed. 1 The Mackays had nothing to fear from the men of Sutherland, 
who got such a severe handling in 1433 that they had to lie low for 
many a long day thereafter. Their danger lay in an attack from 
Caithness, which was delivered, although Sir Robert Gordon is silent 
on the point. 

According to local tradition, shortly after the battle of Drum nan 
Coup and before Neil escaped from the Bass, Ian Aberach engaged 
the men of Caithness at Tom an Dris, on the west bank of the river 
Halladale, opposite Tor. The fight seems to have been a bloody one, 
as is evidenced by the abundance of human remains buried in the 
sandy slope above the ford at Tor. About 1820 a severe storm blew 
away the sand and exposed a considerable quantity of human bones, 
which Major Mackay of Bighouse collected and reburied at the foot 
of the slope, marking the spot by some stones. Human bones have 
also been found on both sides of the river in the neighbourhood of 
the ford, and for some distance to the east of it on the way to Caith- 
ness. From the configuration of the ground and from the position of 
the slain, it may be concluded that the Mackays were drawn up on 
the western slope above the ford to contest a Caithness invasion, and 
that the latter were driven back losing men for a considerable distance 
from the actual battle-field, as they were endeavouring to make their 
way home. The tactics practised here were exactly similar to those 
adopted so successfully at Drum nan Coup : the Mackays stuck to a 
good strong defensive position and waited for an attack with their 

1. See on this point the Old Statistical Account ; Parish of Tongue. 


1437] backs to the brae. Instead of the Earl of Sutherland pursuing Ian 

Aberach after the battle near Tongue, it is more reasonable to 
conclude that the men of Sutherland were saved from further 
immediate punishment at the hands of Ian by the long-standing feud 
between the Maekays and the men of Caithness. 

In Feb. 1436, King James was murdered at Perth, and shortly 
thereafter Neil Vass escaped from his prison on the Bass by the help pinkerton & 
of a kinswoman, the wife of Lauder the governor. The very next suthr. 
year Neil at the head of his clansmen undertook an expedition into 
Caithness. As Neil had no military experience — he was confined on 
the Bass at the tender age of 14 — the captain of the force was 
undoubtedly the youthful veteran Ian Aberach. The Maekays poured 
into Caithness by way of Reay, and took the precaution of leaving a 
strong body posted on Drum Holstein to cover their rear. The main 
body advanced towards Thurso, plundering and burning as they went. 
They were met somewhere in the neighbourhood of Thurso by the 
forces of Caithness, before which the Maekays fell back fighting and 
carrying their spoil. They retired in good order to Sandside, where 
they were joined by their reserves from Drum Holstein, and there the 
real battle began. By skilful tactics Ian Aberach managed to corner 
the Caithnessmen in a loop of the bay below Sandside House, and to 
inflict a crushing defeat driving many into the sea. The survivors 
were chased for some distance along the shore towards Dunreay. BLK Ms , 
Around the ancient fort of Cnoc Stangar, between Sandside House 
and the sea, where the fight was fiercest, the bones of the slain may 
yet be dug out of the sandy soil. This conflict is known as Ruaig 
Handside, Sandside Chase. 1 

1. Sandside Chase.— Often have we listened of a winter's night to this wild tale concerning 
Sandside Chase. Alastair Balloch of Skail, Strathnaver, a man of great strength and stature, 
towards the close of the tight, chanced to encounter a small, lithe, Caithnessman of the name of 
Gunn, who was bravely lighting and falling back. After a few smart passes, Gunn with deft 
swordsmanship managed to hamstring big Alastair and left him lying helplessly wounded. 
Alastair's vexation at such an ignominious quietus was very great. After carrying everything 
before him during some hours close hand to hand fighting, and bringing down man after man, now 
to be gravelled by an insignificant little fellow, was a sorer wound to Alastair's pride than the 
sword-cut on his leg. As his companions bore him home to Skail, he vowed by all the saints that 
he must needs settle scores with the little Caithnessman before he could die happy. In the course 
of time the wound healed and Alastair Balloch set out limping towards Caithness, where he 
prowled for many a long day on the look out for the little Caithnessman. But he was doomed to 


So idolized was Ian Aberach of his clansmen, who had good proof 

of his qualities during his brother's absence, that they would fain 

earld. oi- make him their chief, but Ian magnanimously refused to usurp his 

SiUTHR. _ ° J L 

brother Neil's place, and handed over the government to him on his 
return from the Bass. This dauntless valour and unselfish chivalry 
became the heritage and characteristic of the Aberach Mackays, who 
were ever forward in the fray and but seldom reaped the full fruits of 
their victories, owing to their devotion to the principal family of 
Mackay. Neil, however, endeavoured to reward Ian by bestowing 
upon him lands in Strathnaver, but as there was no sheep-skin 
charters given or asked the descendants of Ian Aberach afterwards 
saw these lands pass over their heads to the Earl of Sutherland, in 
the days of Donald, 1st Lord Reay. Neil Vass married a daughter of 
blk. ms. George Munro of Fowlis by his wife, a daughter of Ross of Balna- 

gown, and had by her two sons and one daughter : — 

i. Angus Roy, who succeeded his father. 

ii. John Roy, who had a son William Roy. The said William is 
mentioned in a decreet of the Lords of Council against the 
Mackays of Strathnaver, dated 27th July 1501, wherein he is 
designated " Wilziam Reed McKy." 


Hi. Elizabeth, who married John MacGillion of Lochbuy, chief of 

disappointment ; he never met Gunn. Vexation and. anger now gave place to melancholy and so 
preyed upon his mind that he sickened, took to his bed, and laid his trusty battle-axe between him 
and the wall. His soul loathed food ; he even ceased to take any notice of visitors. His only 
apparent interest seemed to consist in running his hand along the edge of his axe to feel its sharp- 
ness. His friends seeing the end was near sent for the priest to prepare the dying man to meet his 
Maker. The priest came and told Alastair that if he would be pardoned of God he must himself 
forgive any against whom he may have a grudge. 

" Surely you don't expect me to forgive everybody," said Alastair. 

"Yes, everybody," replied the priest. 

" Well I can't and won't forgive that little Caithnessman. Would to God I had met him ! " 

" Well, well," replied the priest, " you will probably meet him yet if he be a wild savage like 

"Where?" cried Alastair, springing to his elbow, and grasping his battle-axe, while the old 
fire blazed forth once more in his eye. 

"In hell," said the priest. 

" Hell ! So be it. I swear it was never hell till I catch him there," roared the infuriated man, 
and, with a fiendish shout, he fell back lifeless upon the bed. 

IX. Ihtgits $015. 

c. 1460-86. 

■yj-fKffi blood-feud which raged between the Mackays and the 
1 Sutherland* since 1370 became so assuaged during a century 
that a daughter of Angus Roy married Sutherland of Dirlot. 
As was often the case with marriages, perhaps this one sealed some 
compact between the two families* The Keiths who were akin to 
the Sutherlands of Dirlot, both families obtaining their Caithness 
possessions through marriage with the daughters of Reginald Chein, 
were at daggers drawn with the Gunns. It is probable that the 
chieftain of clan Gunn, a man of great power and the crowner of 
Caithness, resented the intrusions of the Keiths, who like all new- 
comers were of a pushing disposition, and had much influence at 
court through Keith marischal. Be that as it may, the relations 
between them became so hostile that the Keiths determined to crush 
the Clan Gunn if possible. 

"The Keiths mistrusting their own force," records Sir R. Gordon, 
" they sent to Angus Mackay entreating him to come to their aid," 
which he did. What induced Mackay to assist Keith we cannot 
definitely say. There was an undoubted prospect of plunder, but 
that was not all. Sir Gilbert Keith of Inverugie was about this time 
" customar," or collector of customs, for Caithness, Strathnaver, and scot.' il, h., 
Sutherland ; and in the exercise of this function may have not only 
crossed the Gunns, but befriended the Mackays and secured their 
help. For whatever cause, Angus Roy advanced into Caithness 




KRT.D. of 

Bl,K. MS. 

accompanied by a body of Assynt Macleods, joined the Keiths, and 
fought the forces of Gunn on Tannach Moor, near Wick. The 
gallant Gunns overwhelmed by numbers were defeated, but not 
without great slaughter on cither side. Soon thereafter crowner 
Gunn and some of his sons were massacred by the Keiths in the 
chapel of St. Tyer, also near Wick. In the Parliament of 1478 
measures were taken to put down blood-shed in Ross. Sutherland, 
and Caithness. Perhaps this had reference to these events. 

A feud now broke out between the Mackays and the Rosses of 
Balnagown which lasted many a long day and resulted in much 
slaughter on both sides. The Blk. MS. says that the Rosses made 
" a predatory incursion " into the territory of Mackay ; Sir R. Gordon 
says that Mackay "often molested with incursions and invasions" the 
lands of the Rosses. Both statements are probably true. It is to be 
remembered that the escheated lands of Thomas Neilson Mackay of 
Creich were bestowed by royal charter in 1430 upon Murray of Cubin, 
Neil Neilson, and Morgan Neilson. There is ample evidence that the 
Mackays of Strathnaver refused to acquiesce in this arrangement, and 
that they managed to recover some of the lost lands. The evidence 
is just as ample that the Rosses managed to secure some of these 
lands lying in the parishes of Edderton and Kincardine of Ross. We 
believe that the feud arose out of a scramble for the disputed lands. 
Angus Roy, after making various expeditions into Ross attended with 
greater or less success, was at last overpowered near the church of 
Tarbet into which he had fled for refuge. The church was fired by 
the Rosses, and Angus was burnt to death. This happened about 

There is nothing to show that the civil or ecclesiastical authorities 
took any measures to punish the sacrilege in the church of Tarbet. 
The times were painfully out of joint. Many of the Scottish nobles 
were in conspiracy against King James III. ; and even his own son 
and successor, then a youth of 15 years, was in league with them. In 


1486] 1488 the king fell at Sauchieburn fighting against his own son, 

afterwards known as James IV. The circumstances explain the 
Government's neglect ; but the Mackays took the matter in hand 
themselves and executed summary vengeance, as shall soon appear. 

Angus Roy married a daughter of Mackenzie of Kintail, and by 
her had issue three sons and two daughters : — BLK - Ms - 

i. lye Roy, who succeeded, and of whom an account follows. 

ii. John Riavach. Sir R. Gordon makes him the eldest son, but the 
Blk. MS. distinctly states that lie was the second son. The 
latter must be correct, for the public records show that John 
was alive in 1501, and that lye acted as chieftain some years 
before that date. In his brother's absence, John Riavach led 
the Mackays at the battle of Aldycharrish in 1487, and is said 
to have fallen along with many of his clansmen at the battle of 
Flodden in 1513. 



Neil Naverach is mentioned in the decreet obtained by the Rosses 
against the Mackays in 1501 as "bruder" of lye Mackay. He 
married a daughter of Hutcheon Sutherland of Croystoun, by 
whom he had a son, John, who succeeded his maternal grand- 
father in the lands of Croystoun. The said John Mackay 

• granted a procuratory to Hugh Rig and David Ireland, 
advocates, for serving him "ane of the twa airs of umql. 
Hucheon Sutherland my guidsyre " in all their lands etc., dated 
4th November, 1542, and recorded in the Meg. Acts and Decreets : 
Bk. I., p. 393. 

A daughter, who married Hector Mackenzie of Auchterned, near 
Dingwall, son of Hector Roy of Gairloch, and had issue as 
recorded in MacFarlane's Collections. 

A daughter, who married Sutherland of Dirlot. 


X. §pc "glow. 


f~\ OOX after the slaughter of Angus Roy at Tarbet, the Mackays 
^~) under the command of John Riavach Mackay and William 
Du mac Ean Aberieh, the latter chieftain of the Aberach 
Mackays, assisted by some friends invaded Strathcarron of Ross in 
force. They met the Rosses and their confederates at Aldicharrish on 
the 11th July, 1487, where, according to Sir Robert Gordon who 
bases his account upon the Fern Abbey MS., " the inhabitants of 
Ross being unable to endure the enemies force were utterly disbanded 
and put to flight." He proceeds, "Alexander Ross, laird of 
Balnagown, was there slain with seventeen other landed gentlemen of 
the province of Ross, besides a great number of common soldiers." 
From Strathoikel eastwards towards Tain the Mackays left the 
country blazing and returned home laden with spoil. With blood, 
fire, and pillage they both punished and avenged the combined 
sacrilege and slaughter at Tarbet church in such a thorough fashion, 
that the neglect or incapacity of the proper authorities was more than 
compensated. Nay more, five years afterwards they invaded the 
same district again and took much spoil a second time, as we 
shall see. 

Sir Robert Gordon, who never forgets his self-imposed task of 
magnifying the house of Sutherland, calmly informs us that John 
Mackay, with a view to the invasion of Ross, came to the Earl of 
Sutherland " upon whom he depended, and desired, he said, to 



1487] revenge his father's death ; whereuuto Earl John yielded and presently 

sent his uncle, Robert Sutherland, with a company of chosen men to 
assist him." In the first place, Mackay in noway "depended" upon 
the Earl of Sutherland. The feudal superiority of Sutherland over 
Mackay, which Sir Robert is continually harping upon, nowhere 
existed save in his own fertile imagination. In the second place, it is 
most unlikely that Earl John, who was handfastcd if not married to a 
daughter of Balnagown, would assist to crush his father-in-law. It 
is possible, but not at all probable. And in the third place, when 
the raid was judicially enquired into there was no mention of the 
Sutherlands. " A remission to John McKeye " was granted by the account. 
king at Banff, between October and November 1494. A courier 
passed from Aberdeen with an " estreat of a justiceayre to Macintoshe, 
David Ross of Ballochgowne. and to McKeye," 8th November, 1494. ibid. 
When the quarrel came before the justiciar at Aberdeen the principals 
were Mackay, Macintosh, and Ross. Evidently Sir Robert dragged 
in the other "uncle Robert" in order to snatch the credit of the 
victory at Aldicharrish from the Mackays, but facts are against him. 

In 1490 King James IV., as tutor to his brother James, Duke of 
Ross, granted in heritage to David Ross, nephew and apparent heir 
of John Ross, and grandsou of John Ross of Balnagown, the lands of 
Strathoikel and Strathcarron, which formerly belonged 1 to Morgan 
Neilson Mackay. That is to say, as soon as possible after the 
accession of James IV. to the throne, the Rosses of Balnagown took 
steps to secure by royal charter some of the lands in dispute 
between them and the Mackays. Nor did the Mackays lag far 
behind. On the 15th March, 1504, lye Roy Mackay secured 
from the king the nonentry of the lands of Ferencostrig, Strath- appendix 
halladale, Creichmore, Assent, Coigach, Gruids, Strathflete, etc. 
On the 15th February, 1506, he caused the charter granted 
by Donald Lord of the Isles in 1415, and by which the 
Mackays laid claim to these lands, to be recorded in the books of the lBID Na 5 ' 

1. In proof of this statement see Orig. Par. Scot, Vol. II., part ii., pp. 411, 415, 455. 

72 X. IYE ROY 

Lords of Council. And sometime thereafter he laid claim, as a test 
case evidently, to the lands and barony of Coigach in Ross. On this 
latter claim the Lords of Council pronounced a decree, the 9th March, 
1512, finding that the lands of Coigach belonged to the umql. 
Eupham, Countess of Ross, but as she had resigned the earldom of 
act. doji. con. Ross into the hands of Robert, Duke of Albany, and had taken a new 
charter " to herself and the heirs of her body, whom failing to the 
king's progenitors, kings of Scotland, in fee and heritage," and as the 
said countess had left no heirs of her body these lands had become 
the property of the Crown. 

The Council's decree appears to us utterly unjust, and in keeping 
with many another legal transaction of the same body at this and 
other periods. Whatever documents Eupham the nun may have 
signed at the instigation of the notoriously unscrupulous Albany, it is 
undoubted that Donald, Lord of the Isles, secured and retained the 
earldom of Ross in spite of them. The said earldom with all its 
rights passed successively to his son Alexander and thereafter to his 
grandson John, both Lords of the Isles and Earls of Ross. It is true 
that John lost the earldom by reason of rebellion, but that should in 
noway invalidate the legality of the charter granted by his grandfather 
to the Mackays in 1415. As a brother of King James IY. was, how- 
ever, created Duke of Ross, it was found convenient to rest his title 
to the lands of the earldom upon the resignation of Eupham, ignoring 
the MacDonald possession altogether. This was clearly sharp 
practice, to say the least of it. The counter claims of Mackay and 
Balnagown to parts of the lands held before 1430 by Mackay of 
Creich, who held them of his cousin of Strathnaver in consequence of 
the hitter's charter from Donald, Lord of the Isles, serve to show the 
origin of the friction between the Rosses and Mackays which resulted 
in such an explosion at Aldicharrish. 

We saw that John Mackay got a remission from the king in 1494, 
but this did not quench the embers of strife. It is evident that more 
blood was shed, for David Ross of Balnagown and lye Roy of 


1493] Strathnaver were summoned to appear before the Earl of Argyle, then 

Lord High Chancellor of Scotland, and on the 4th October, 1496, each £ CT i 9 ? 0M - CoN - 

of them became bound, by extending his hand to Argyle in the king's 

name, to keep the peace towards each other, and that their " folkis sal 

be harmeless and skaithles," under a penalty of 500 merks in case of 


Notwithstanding the apparent reconciliation of the parties above 
mentioned, " David Ross of Balngovvan and Hucheon Ross his 
brother, procurators for Giles Sutherland, spouse of umql. Alexander 
Ross, and Isabella, Margaret, and Marion Ross, daughters," brought 
an action before the Lords of Council against the Mackays for spoils 
taken out of the lands of " Langcll, Invercarron, Grewnard, Kincardin, 
Invercarsley and others within the Duchery of Ross." The spoils 
were : — 

"Twelve hundred ky, the price of the piece 20s, with the profits of 
the same for eight years by-gane, extending yearly till the sum of 300 ibid. 
merks ; ane hundred horse and mares, the price of the piece over head 
40s, with the profits thereof extending yearly he the said space till £4~) ; 
and ane thousand sheep and goats, the price of the piece 2s, with their 
profit yearly be the said space extending till 100 merks." In this action 
the Eosses prevailed and decree was accordingly pronounced against the 
Mackays, who did not put in an appearance at all, dated 27th July, 1501. 
Roughly speaking, the damages amounted to about 6000 merks, a very 
large sum in those days ; but what portion of this if any the Rosses were 
able to recover we have no means of knowing. 

According to the above decreet the spoliation complained of took 
place eight years earlier, or in 1493, while that in connection with 
Aldicharrish happened during the summer of 1487, as was recorded in 
the Fern Abbey 3IS. Evidently there were two great raids by the 
Mackays into Ross separated by an interval of five years. Of the 
first raid the authorities took no notice ; it was apparently considered 
justified by the code of reveuge common then ; but the second raid 
resulted in an action at law. It is very evident the Rosses had no 




No. 6. 


No. 7. 

reason to congratulate themselves upon the burning of Angus Roy 
Mackay in Tarbet church. 

To reward with gifts of land or otherwise Highland chieftains and 
headmen, who brought offenders to justice and assisted in the main- 
tenance of order, was part of the settled policy which King James 
IV. adopted in the north. He seems to have been in regular 
communication with the Mackintosh, Huntly, Cameron, Grant, 
Mackay, as the national records abundantly show. It was in 
pursuance of this policy that, on the 18th July, 1496, he bestowed 
£20 yearly out of " our lordship of Murray .... for gud and 
treu service doun to us be our lowit squyr Y McKy of Straithnaver," 
to continue until " we provide ane leving and fee of land for the 
said Y McKy in ane competent place lyand near the boundis of 
Straithnaver." The king in this document expressly addresses 
Mackay as " of Strathnaver,' and holds out the prospect of other 
lands in the neighbourhood when the opportunity presents itself. It 
did so speedily. 

Sutherland of Dirlot, who was pursued for some debts by Sir 
James Dunbar of Cumnock, murdered his relative, Alexander Dunbar, 
step-father of John Earl of Sutherland, and was in consequence put 
to the horn. lye Roy Mackay, who was already bound to the king's 
service for the maintenance of order, received a commission to 
apprehend Dirlot and did so. Mackay was rewarded by a charter 
under the Great Seal, dated 4th November, 1499, of the escheated 
lands of Dirlot, viz., Farr, Armadale, Strathy, Rennivie, Davach 
Lochnaver, and Davach Eriboll, all in Strathnaver, of Kinald, Golspie, 
and Kilcolumkill in Sutherland, and of Dirlot, Cattack, Bronach, and 
two pennylands of Stroma in Caithness. As Dirlot was a nephew of 
Mackay the apprehension seems somewhat heartless, but there were 
extenuating circumstances. Dirlot or his father managed to get 
possession by some means of Strathnaver lands which formerly 
belonged to the family of Mackay. Of this there can be no doubt. 
In the sasiue which Donald, son of lye Roy Mackay, took of these 


1503-6] lands on 16th February, 1540, it is expressly stated that the said Ibid. no. h. 
lands pertained to " the late Odo McKy alias Y McKy, father of the 
foresaid Donald McKy, and his predecessors held of our deceased 
illustrious predecessors" (quondam Odamus McKy alias Y McKy, 
pater prefati Donaldi McKy, ejusque predecessores per quondam 
nobilissimos predecessores nostras). Looked at in this light, Mackay's 
temptation to acquire ancestral lands, which in some way came into 
the possession of Sutherland, overbore any natural affection which he 
might be expected to cherish towards his nephew. And besides this, 
Dirlot on the father's side was a representative of Nicolas Sutherland, 
with whom and with whose successors the Mackays waged such a 
prolonged and fierce feud. 

The closing years of the fifteenth and the opening years of the 
sixteenth century witnessed a great upheaval in the western isles, 
where the people continued to cherish a hankering after the re-estab- 
lishment of the ancient lordship of the isles. The king, irritated at 
the misconduct of the Hebrideans, unwisely cancelled the charters of 
some of the leading families, and practically goaded them into revolt. 
Almost at the same moment Donald Du, grandson of John, Lord 
of the Isles, escaped from his long confinement in the castle of 
Inchconnal, fled to the Lews, and put himself at the head of the 
discontented confederates. It took three expeditions, in 1503, 1505, 
and 1506, respectively, to quell the tumult; and in all these 
expeditions lye Roy Mackay did most effective work at the head 
of his clansmen. In the Parliament of 1505 Torquil of the Lews, 
who persistently refused to put in an appearance, was found guilty of 
treason and put to the horn. Huntly was commissioned to proceed 
with the northern Highlanders across the Minch and capture the 
recalcitrant Macleod. To this end ships were collected, cannon 
brought by sea from Edinburgh Castle, and every nerve strained to 
make the expedition a success. In 1506 Huntly, Mackay, and others 
appeared before Stornoway Castle, and after battering it with artillery actsofpak. & 
took Torquil prisoner. Ac. 




As a reward for his services in helping to crush the Hebridean 
Arp. no. s. insurrections, the king " gevis and grantis to our lovit Y McKay " the 
nonentry of the lands in Straithnaver, Slichchilis, Strathhalladale, 
Creichraore, Assent, Coigeach, Gruids-davach, Edderachilis, the Little 
Isles of Strathnaver, and a part of the lauds of Stratliflete, dated 15th 
March, 1504. The Strathnaver lands in nonentry at this time were 
evidently those pertaining to the lineal heir of Farquhar, " the king's 
physician " — a Mackay who obtained the lands of Melness, Hope, and 
the Little Isles of Strathnaver from King Robert II., as we saw. On, 9. the 30th September, 1511, lye Roy and his son, John Mackay, 
purchased the lands of Melness and Hope from Donald McCorrichie, 
Farquhar's heir, and thus secured them in heritable right, but the 
Little Isles did not come into the possession of the family until they 
were purchased by Donald, 1st Lord Reay. It is very evident from 
these transactions that the Mackays held a great amount of lauded 
estate at this period, not only in Strathnaver but in Sutherland and 
Ross, and that they must have been able to put a large force into the 

King James IV. having resolved upon an invasion of England 
summoned his subjects capable of bearing arms, and had a most loyal 
response from both Highlands and Lowlands. According to the Blk. 
31S., lye Roy Mackay accompanied by his brother John Riavach, at 
the head of a contingent from Strathnaver, joined the royal standard 
and took part in the battle of Flodden in 1513. lye Roy escaped 
with his life from the fatal field, but John Riavach and a number of 
clansmen fell that day. Among the slain from the far north were 
both the Bishop and the Earl of Caithness. 

After the fall of the king at Flodden, the islanders made 
insurrection again under the leadership of Sir Donald MacDonald of 
Lochalsh, commonly called Donald Galda. John, Duke of Albany, 
and Colin, Earl of Argyle, were entrusted with the task of suppressing 
the disturbance in 1515, and were in a measure successful. But 
Donald Galda managed to renew the conflict in 1517, and gave much 

From the Balfour MSS. 


1517] trouble to the Earl of Argyle, who had been appointed Lieutenant of 

the Isles shortly before. When Argyle petitioned the Govern- 
ment for assistance against Sir Donald, letters were ordered to .be 
directed in name of the king to the head-men of the north, "as the act. dom. con. 
Lord Lovat, Macintosh, Grant, MacKenzie, McKy, McCIod, &c, in 
tha parts, to pursue the said Sir Donald and his accomplices," dated 
May 1517- What response the Mackays made to this appeal we 
cannot say, but the affair soon thereafter terminated with the death of 
Sir Donald. 

lye Roy shortly before his death joined in a band of friendship ^i™ 1 * 
with Adam Gordon, Earl of Sutherland, on the 31st July 1517. Of 
course, Sir Robert Gordon makes this to appear as the act of a vassal 
towards his superior. It was nothing of the kind, as the document 
itself shows. To the extent of the lands of Strathilete and others, 
within the earldom of Sutherland (which was separate from Strath- 
naver), Earl Adam was the feudal overlord of Mackay, but no 
further. Sir William Fraser, discussing Sir Robert's reference to this 
transaction, writes : — " He also describes it as if it were granted by 
an inferior to a superior, which is not the case. The agreement, 
except for the acknowledged fact that Earl Adam was Mackay 's 
overlord in certain lands, is a transaction between equals." It was 
not a case of the Earl of Sutherland calling Mackay to heel, as Sir 
Robert Gordon misrepresents it, but a case of the Earl of Sutherland 
soliciting the much-needed support of Mackay in an hour of great 
need, as shall appear afterwards. So much meantime for Sir Robert's 

lye Roy Mackay, who died towards the close of 1517, married a 
celebrated beauty, a daughter of Norman, son of Patrick O'Beolan of 
Carloway in Lewis, as is stated in the Knock MS., or as Sir Robert Sb. de rebus 
calls her, "a woman of the western isles." O'Beolan was the lineal 
descendant of the well-known priestly family of Applecross, whose 
progenitor was St. Maolrubha. 1 This marriage was not in conformity 

1. Saint Maolrubha had numerous dedications in Moray, Ross, Lewis, .Strathnaver, etc., and is 
known as Malrou, Maree, Rice, Rufus, and even Saniaru. He appears to have been the patron 

78 X. IYE ROY 

with canon law, but lye Roy duly secured from King James IV., 8th 
?v G 'uo EC ' Sre ' August, 1511, a precept of legitimation for his two surviving sons, 
John and Donald. By the unscrupulous conduct of the Earls of 
Huntly and Sutherland, lye Du Mackay, the grandson of lye Roy, got 
into much trouble in consequence of this marriage notwithstanding 
the royal precept of 1511, as shall appear. The issue of this marriage 
was three sons and two daughters : — 

i. John, who succeeded his father in 1517. 

ii. Donald, who succeeded his brother John in 1529. 

Hi. Angus, who fell fighting against the Eosses, near Tain, before 

iv. A daughter, who married Hugh Macleod of Assynt, and had 
known issue Neil and Helen. Helen Macleod married her first 
cousin, lye Du of Strathnaver, to whom she bore Donald 
Balloch Mackay of Scoury and John Beg, the former becoming 
the progenitor of the Scoury Mackays. 

v. A daughter, who married the Honl. Alexander Sutherland, son of 
John, Earl of Sutherland, by his second marriage. 

saint of Strathnaver. At Balnakeil in Durness there is a stone called '' the red priest's stone," 
and another at Skail on the Strath of the Naver which goes hy the same name — Dr. Reves thinks 
the latter was " a girth or sanctuary stone." The old fair at Farr, held in September formerly, is 
often called iocally Feil Samaru, that is the fair of St. Rufus ; and Loch Monair on the Strath was 
until lately considered to have healing virtues equal to those of Loch Maree in Ross. Like Maree, 
Monair is doubtless a corrupt form of the name Maolrubha. For an interesting account of this 
Celtic saint see an article by Dr. Reeves in The Proceedings of the Antiquarian Society, Edinburqh : 
Vol. III. 

f> *ty 

XI. 1. §oI)n ^Tacfcap. 


WE have now come to a point where it is absolutely necessary 
to take a general survey of the situation in Sutherland, owing 
to the advent of the Gordons and its far reaching effects. 
John, Earl of Sutherland, who died in 1508, was for some years 
before his death demented and his affairs in the hands of guardians. 
By his first wife, Fingole of the Isles, whom he divorced, he had a 
son John, who succeeded, and a daughter Elizabeth, who married 
Adam Gordon of Aboyne, brother of Alexander, 3rd Earl of Huntly. 
By his second wife, Catherine, who survived him and drew widow's 
terce as late as 1512, he had a son Alexander Sutherland — "a 
bastard," according to Sir Robert Gordon. John the elder son of 
Earl John was served heir to his father on the 24th July 1509, but 
soon experienced the power of the Gordons. As sheriff of the north, 
Huntly had under his jurisdiction Caithness, Strathnaver, Sutherland, 
Ross, Inverness, Moray, etc., and may be said to have had law and 
justice, such as it was, in his almost absolute hands. Huntly by legal 
manipulation got John, Earl of Sutherland, who succeeded in 1509, 
declared idiot and placed under the conjoint guardianship of 
Elizabeth, his sister, and her husband, Adam Gordon. 

On the death of James IV. at Flodden in 1513, Scotland was left 
under the nominal government of an infant, James V., but one year 
old, and had to experience the miserable misrule which generally 
attended royal minorities in the northern kingdom. Huntly, who was 


80 XI. 1. JOHN' MAC KAY 

practically lieutenant as well as sheriff of the north, had now the ball 
at his foot and did not fail to play his best. Elizabeth Sutherland, 
spouse of Adam Gordon, Huntly's brother, was served heir to her 
brother, John "the idiot," at Inverness, the 3rd October 1514; and 
Alexander Sutherland, her half-brother and rightful heir, complained 
through his procurator that he could not personally appear at the 
court to oppose her and make good his own claim, owing to the 
conduct of Huntly " the sheriff." But his protest was of no avail ; 
Elizabeth obtained the earldom, and her husband Adam Gordon was 
soon thereafter created Earl of Sutherland. The disinherited 
Alexander Sutherland, however, possessed himself of Dunrobin 
Castle and cast about for assistance to maintain his doomed cause. 
Earl Adam, as he was now called, also fished for much-needed 
assistance to counteract the claimant. In 1516 by a grant of the 
lands of Strathulie he secured a bond of friendship with the Earl of 
Caithness, who for these lands engaged to recover Dunrobin Castle 
for Adam. In 1518, Huntly the sheriff had the Earl of Caithness 
outlawed for not fulfilling his promise to recover Dunrobin. Such 
was the administration of constitutional law in those days ! To 
make a long story short, the unfortunate Alexander Sutherland was 
assassinated near Brora in 1519 by Gordon emissaries, when his head 
was fixed upon the chimney-tops of Dunrobin ; and Adam Gordon 
his brother-in-law, now Earl of Sutherland, soon thereafter resigned 
the lands of the earldom into the hands of the infant king, represented 
no doubt in the person of Huntly, who duly conveyed them by royal 
charter to Adam's eldest son — a slim but common practice in those 
days. 1 This was how the title and lands of the earldom of 
Sutherland passed from the line of Sutherland to that of Gordon. 

It was in these circumstances that lye Roy Mackay contracted the 
bond of friendship with Earl Adam, dated 31st July 1517, winch 
Earl Adam's great-grandson, Sir Robert, represents as a covenant of 
vassalage. Fortunately the document is still preserved among the 

1. The facts given above are substantiated by Sir Win. Fraser :— Sutherland Book : Vol. I. 


1517-18] Reay Papers, and we are able to print it in our Appendix; but 
unfortunately many another misrepresentation of his, equally gross 
with reference to the Mackays, we cannot so satisfactorily demolish 
for lack of the necessary evidence. At the advent of the Gordons 
into Sutherland, notwithstanding the discreditable circumstances 
above described, Sir Robert Gordon plays " cock of the north " with 
a strut that is often annoying though sometimes ludicrous. He dubs 
John Mackay of Strathnaver " bastard " — he does the same to 
Alexander Sutherland — and proceeds to describe a prolonged 
intestine war in Strathnaver between John and his uncle Neil 
Naverach, on the question of the chieftainship, which is neither borne 
out by facts within our knowledge nor agrees with his own tale. 

John Mackay, on the 16th August, 1518, or shortly after his 
father's death, practically renewed his father's bond of friendship 
with Earl Adam, and for promising assistance was given seven 
davachs of land in Strathflete. In this bond he took upon him the appends 
responsibilities of chieftain, and is designed " of Strathnaver," a title 
which was never applied at that period save to the rightful head of 
the clan Mackay. Nay more, on Sir Robert's own showing, John 
Mackay sent or led no less than six warlike expeditions of his 
clansmen into Sutherland between the years 1517-22, in every one of 
which he was badly defeated, of course ! If John was so busy at 
home putting clown insurrection we cannot understand how he could 
be at the same time so active abroad, especially seeing that he lost at 
every stroke ! If John did all this he must have been one of the 
finest fighting bull-dogs his clan ever produced, and ought to have 
received better treatment at the hands of a gallant knight like Sir 
Robert. There is, however, nothing to show that John's succession 
was disputed, and Sir Robert evidently manufactured this story to 
justify the conduct of the Earls of Huntly and Sutherland, when, 
during the minority of Mary Queen of Scots, they attempted to 
disinherit lye Du Mackay, nephew of the said John. The Gordons, 
who managed to disinherit and decapitate the unfortunate Alexander 



Sutherland on the plea of bastardy, tried a similar plan on lye Du 
Mackay, but with only partial success. To expose the misrepresen- 
tations of Sir Robert is a tedious and unpleasant task, which often 
compels us most unwillingly to rake up incidents discreditable to the 
house of Sutherland ; but as Sir Robert, who is so unjust to the 
Mackays, is practically the only authority on our northern history at 
this period, we cannot avoid the task and be loyal to our own clan as 
well as to truth. 

We shall now consider those six wonderful incursions which John 
Mackay is said to have made between the years 1517 and 1522. 
Mackay with his clansmen, accompanied by some Assynt Macleods, 
marched into Sutherland in 1517, where he was joined by the Poison 
and Tomson Mackays. Alexander Sutherland, " the bastard," at the 
instigation of his sister (now Countess of Sutherland, to his undoing) 
raised the men of the earldom, and being joined by the Murrays and 
Gunns gave battle to Mackay at Torran Du in Rogart, where the 
latter suffered a mighty overthrow. This is history as told by Sir 
Robert Gordon, but it is not truth. Sir Wra. Fraser shows us that 
from March, 1517, to February, 1518, the disinherited Alexander 
Sutherland, instead of leading men to battle, was confined a prisoner 

SUTUR. BK. I., ' , , • 

I 9 - in Edinburgh through the influence of Huntly ; and he proceeds, " in 

other respects also Sir Robert's narrative of the various encounters 
with the Mackays at this time must be received with caution." "We 
should think so indeed. The fact is there was no fighting at all in 
Earl Adam's policy, because of his uncertain and precarious hold of 
the earldom. Instead of fighting he wisely tried to bind to his 
interest, with bonds of friendship and gifts of land, all the influential 
leaders of the northland, such as Caithness, Mackay, Murray, etc. 

Mackay, however, did fight at Torran Du, as tradition and song 
sufficiently testify ; but his opponents were the Murrays, the Rosses of 
Balnagown, and the Gunns, while with him were the Mathiesons and 
the Poisons. Among the papers of the Revd. Mr Sage of Kildonan 
was a MS. Account of the Gunns, which came into the possession of 


1517-18] the Revd. Mr Guim of Watten about 1804, and which now lies 
before us. In this MS. there is one verse of an old Gaelic song 
commemorating the part which the Gunns took in the fight at Torran 
Du, which we give and translate as follows : — 

Thainig na Guinich 's gu'n tainig iad, 
'S ann an deagh am a thainig iad. 
Thair iad as Macaoidli 's sial Mhothan, 
Mharbhadh leo siol Phail gun acain. 

The Gunns came and came they did, 
T'was in an hour of need they came. 
The Mackays and the Mathiesons fled, 
But the Poisons were mercilessly slain. 

According to this MS. account, the day was going with Mackay when 
suddenly and unexpectedly the Gunns appeared coming over the brow 
of the hill towards the battle field, and changed the face of affairs. 
The Mathiesons and Mackays like prudent men retired to fight 
another day, but the Poisons were caught in a trap and suffered much 
loss. A few months after this " great defeat," the Mackays put in an 
appearance at Loch Salchie, above Strathoikel and near the borders 
of Ross, when William Mackay, chieftain of the Aberachs, and his 
brother Donald fell on the one side, and John Murray of Aberscross 
fell on the other. Once more, and only a few months later, the 
Mackays turn up in the heart of Rogart burning the town of Pitfure 
in Strathflete. Then almost immediately follows the bond of friend- 
ship, 16th August, 1518, between Mackay and Earl Adam, in which 
the former secures from the earl seven davachs of land in Strathflete. 
To put it briefly, the Mackays who were twice defeated in Rogart 
within the space of 12 months, according to Sir Robert, are shown by 
the Reay Papers to have rounded up the year by securing a title to 
lands in the said parish. Of course, Sir Robert takes good care not 
to say anything about the latter fact — it would spoil his story. 

Shortly after all these disastrous "defeats," and before the ink 
was hardened on the bond of friendship, Mackay turns up in Creich 
and again suffers a great beating at the hands of Alexander Gordon, 


Master of Sutherland. And yet again, within a year, the ubiquitous 
Mackay invades Braeehat to be defeated by the Master once more. 
To punish Mackay for his thick-headedness in not understanding that 
he was defeated so often, Sir Robert now makes the Master invade 
Strathnaver passing from end to end and taking great spoil. We 
should think Mackay had enough punishment by this time to satisfy 
even Sir Robert, but such was not the case — the Master had to 
administer another thrashing at Lairg and drive Mackay into the loch 
there. At last Mackay's spirit is broken — perhaps the swim in Loch 
Shin had something to do with it— any how, he signs "a bond of 
service" to the Master in 1522. This is Sir Robert's story briefly 

Now what are the facts as far as we know them from 

documentary evidence ? The bond which John Mackay signed, on 

the 6th July, 1522, is indorsed on the document lying in Dunrobin, 

appendix " Ane act where McKy gaif his aith to Alexander erle of Sutherland, 

No 12. 

to do all things that he was oblist till do to Adam, erle of 
Sutherland." Quite so. Earl Adam with whom John Mackay had 
contracted a bond of friendship in 1518, resigned the earldom into his 
son's hands, and now the son renews the said covenant with Mackay. 
There is not a syllable in the document to indicate any fighting 
between the two. It is very evident that the Master of Sutherland 
owes those brilliant victories over Mackay to the vigour of Sir 
Robert's glowing imagination. Such is history as it was Avritteu by 
Sir Robert ! That there was a considerable amount of fighting in 
Sutherland during these years we believe, but it was not between the 
Gordons and the Mackays. The Gordon policy, inspired by the 
astute Huutly, sheriff of the north, was to set by the ears the 
Mackays, Murrays, Gunns, Mathiesons, Rosses ; and in this the 
Gordons were only too successful. While the other clans kept 
hammering one another, the Gordons wisely kept fortifying their own 
position in Sutherland. 

In 1529 Andrew Stuart, Bishop of Caithness, instigated one of his 


1529] servants to murder Sutherland of Duffus while on a visit to Inverness. 

This naturally caused an uproar throughout the diocese, some 
supporting the bishop and others the Duffus party. Sir Robert tells 
us that Huntly and Sutherland took the bishop's part, and practically 
saved from the gallows the reverend prelate's neck, because he 
happened to be a scion of the house of Atholl, with which they 
were in league. Mackay espoused the other side, and marched 
with a body of men towards the bishop's castle of Skibo ; but 
he sickened during the expedition, and was carried home to die 
almost immediately. 

John Mackay married Margaret, daughter of Thomas, Lord Lovat, 
who succeeded to the chieftainship of Fraser in 1501. In the 
Wardlaw MS., Vol. 34 of the Scottish History Society Publications, 
she is designed " Margaret Lady McKay," and must have been the 
wife of John, from the period at which her father flourished. By her 
he had two daughters, but no male issue 1 : — 

i. A daughter, who married Hugh Murray of Aberseross and to 
whom she bore Hugh, " son and heir of Hugh Moray of 
Aberseross and grandson, and one of the heirs, of John MacKay 
of Strathnaver," as is recorded in a charter by Wm. Sutherland 
of Duffus to the said Hugh Moray, dated 21st February, 1581. 
See Inventory of Dunrobin Papers in the Blk. JIS. 

ii. A daughter, who married the laird of Polrossie. 

1 He had also an illegitimate son, John Mor, of whom we shall hear more afterwards. The 
said John Mor had known issue five sons, viz., Neil; Rory, constable of Borve Castle in Farr 
during its siege in 1554 ; Murdo, whose son Donald macMurdo macEan Mor lies buried within the 
old church of Durness ; John ; and Tonnat : — Rcay Papers. These rive brothers are also mentioned 
in Pitcairn's Criminal Trials, Vol. I. p. 352. 

"<£ | e^s6- 

XT. 2. ;©cmaI6 jJiTackag. 


-^f S John Mackay died leaving no legitimate male issue, he was 
-f\ succeeded in 1529 by his brother Donald, who about that 
time assisted the Master of Forbes and Sir John Campbell of 
Cawdor in the prosecution of an Aberdeenshire feud, which resulted 
in the slaughter of Alexander Seaton of Meldrum. In Pitcairn's 
Criminal Trials, Vol. I., p. 149, we read : — 

"At Dundee, 10th October, 1530, John Master of Forbes found 
caution (John Lord Forbes) for his appearance along with Ninian Forbes, 
John of Caldore, and Donald Makky, at the justice-aire of Aberdeen, to 
underlie the law for art and part of the cruel slaughter of Alexander 
Seaton of Meldrum." 

The occasion of this feud is surrounded with much obscurity ; its 
chief interest for us consists in the fact that we now find the Mackays 
and Forbeses, who claim to have sprung from a kindred stock in the 
distant past, acting in concert. It was for this slaughter, probably, 
that Mackay obtained a pardon for himself and his Strathnaver 
clansmen, 26th July, 1536, as follows : — ■ 

"Respite to Donald MacKay and to all persons inhabitants of the 
land of Strathnaverne, Athir-Achquhilis, and Ardurenis, within the 
Trials, t, 246. sheriffdom of Inverness, for all actions, crimes, etc., treason in our lord's 
person alanerlie excepted." 

In July of the following year (1537) the Master of Forbes and his 

sister-in-law, Lady Glamis, sister of Douglas Earl of Angus, were 

executed for conspiracy against the king's life. Associated with Lady 




1537] Glamis in the said asserted conspiracy was an Alexander Maky, 

whose singular sentence was to be banished from all parts of Scotland swSh. 
except the county of Aberdeen. 

Calderwood in his History of the Kirk of Scotland, compiled 
about one hundred years later, asserts that the jury who found Forbes 
guilty were corrupted by Huntly, 1 and Pitcairn accepts this statement. 
That King James V. persecuted with much malignity the Douglas 
family generally, and the Earl of Angus especially, the regent for 
some time during the king's minority, is a well known fact. That at 
the same time Huntly, who was a bitter Catholic like the king himself, 
stood high in the royal favour is an equally well-established fact. 
The Earl of Angus, stripped of everything, fled to England and 
became a leader of the Anglo-Reformation party, which Forbes also 
joined ; while the king, Huntly, and others, became known as the 
Franco-Romish party. We shall afterwards see that lye Du, son of 
Donald Mackay, joined the party of the Reformers and suffered for so 
doing at the hands of Huntly and his clique, in 1551 and thereafter. 
It is probable that the Mackays, feeling the pressure of Huntly in the 
north, for the earldom of Sutherland in the hands of a Gordon was to 
all intents and purposes an appanage of Huntly, endeavoured to 
counter-balance this by an alliance with their Aberdeenshire kinsmen, 
the Forbcses. In other words, Mackay in the north and Forbes in 
Aberdeen endeavoured to stand together against the Gordons iu 
Sutherland and in Strathbogie. 

It has to be observed that Sir John Campbell of Cawdor, brother 
of the Earl of Argyle, was associated with the Mackays and Forbeses 
in the slaughter of Seaton. It was this same Sir John who slew 
Maclean of Duart in bed, about 1529, for the latter's inhuman 
treatment of Lady Elizabeth Campbell his wife, whom Duart 
barbarously left exposed to certain death on a lonely western sea-girt 

1 " The Master of Forbesse was beheaded the 10th of Julie, after that he had been convict by 
an assise as having, some yeere.s before, sought with Douglas to slay the king. Strauchane, one of 
his servaunts, the reveeler or rather forger of the conspiracy, was seduced by Huntly. It was 
knnwne also that the greatest part of the assise was corrupted by the said erle " : — Woodrow 
Edition of Calderwood's History. Vol. I. p. 112. 


isle. Maclean's slaughter resulted in a prolonged and bloody feud 
between his clan and the Campbells, during which the Mackays of 
Kintyre, especially, suffered severely at the hands of the Macleans. 
It appears that these Mackays supported the Campbells, for the 
charters and presumably the house of Evor Mackay, hereditary 
crowner of Kintyre from time immemorial, were burnt and his lands 
laid waste. 1 It may be that the Strathnaver Mackays also joined the 
Campbells and the Kintyre Mackays against the Macleans ; but this is 
only a surmise based upon their association with Cawdor in fighting 
the Seatons. 

In May, 1539, King James V. sailed from Leith with a large fleet 
on a cruise round the north of Scotland, calling at Orkney and 
touching on the Strathnaver coast, presumably at Loch Eriboll, where 
Mackay went aboard and accompanied the king during the rest of the 
voyage. On doubling Cape Wrath, the king took other chieftains 
aboard, such as Roderick Macleod of the Lews, Alexander Macleod 
of Dunvegan, John of Moidart, Alexander of Glengarry, MacKenzie 
of Kintail, Maclean of Duart, and MacConnal of Isla. Some of these 
iiscoiiie. chieftains were received on board as enemies and afterwards 
imprisoned, others as friends and afterwards rewarded. Pitscottie 
says " some he put in ward, some bade in court, and some he took 
pledges for good rule in time coming." Mackay was well treated by 
the king apparently, for on the 16th December, 1539, after their 
arrival at Stirling, he obtained a charter under the Great Seal of his 
No. i3. ' ancestral lands in heritage, viz., the lands of Farr, Armadale, Straye, 

Rynewe, Kynnald, Golspie, Dirlot, Cattack, Broynach, Kilchalumkill 
in Strabrora, Davach Lochnaver, Davach Eriboll, the two pennylands 
of Stromay, the mill of Kinald, the island of Sanday extending to 
three pennylands, the lands of Melness and Hope, with the mills, 
mill-lands, manors, etc., formerly belonging in heritage to Y McKy 
and his ancestors, the father of the said Donald, but in the king's 
hands by reason of nonentry, and now erected into the free barony of 

1 See Reg. Mag. Sig., Vol. III., p. C3S ; and Vol. VII., under date 28th December, 1015. 


15-1-0-21 Fair, sasine to be taken at the principal messuage of Farr. Mackav 

J 11 " Appendix 

took sasine by procurators of these lands at the castle of Farr, which no. h. 
lay between Swordly and Farr, on the 16th February, 1540. 

Mackay seems to have remained at court for at least a twelve- 
month, as, on the 26th November, 1540, he witnessed a charter of 
lands in Monteith of Perth to Anthony Balfour of Torre Estir. 


While at court, Mackay obtained a charter from Andrew, Bishop of ni.,409. 
Caithness, of the XV. davach churchlands in Durness, Strathnaver, 
to himself and to his heirs after him, viz., the lands and barony of 
Ardurness, comprehending the lands of Galdwall, Kauldoull, Craniga, 
Barroull, Slanis, Alshermoir, Alsherbeg, Sandwet, Island Hoa, and 
others with their pertinents : Reserving to the bishop and his 
successors the lands of Rigaboll and Skail and their pertinents, dated r eay 
7th July, 1540. The reserved lands of Ribigill and Skail continued 
afterwards, for some centuries, the respective glebes of the incumbents 
at Farr and Kintail. 

When Donald Mackay succeeded his brother, John, in 1529, he 
was under a cloud for the part which he took along with Forbes 
against the Seatons, consequently the nonentry of his lands was 
secured by Sutherland of Duffus in 1530 — an evident attempt to get scot, n., il, 
possession of Strathnaver lands similar to that by Sutherland of 
Dirlot at an earlier period. Some difference afterwards arose 
between Mackay and Duffus as to the lands of Kerrownashein, near 
Lochnaver, which Duffus claimed to hold from the church of Moray 
in virtue of the grant of the same to Reginald Chein, and also as to 
the nonentry dues of the estate of Mackay since 1530. The matter 
was submitted to the arbitration of James, Earl of Moray, who 
decided as follows in 1542 : — 

" In presence of the parties he gave as his decree that, understanding 
the great slaughters and injuries committed on each other by the 
ancestors of the parties, in consequence of their disputes about the above 
subjects, and for the purpose of avoiding such injuries in future, he 
ordained that William Sutherland should alienate to Donald Mackay and lBID n ;; 7n 
his heirs the lands which he held of the church of Moray, to be held by 



Donald of that church for the yearly payment of 12 merles to the said 

church that for the lands held of the church and their 

dues, Donald should pay William the sum of 250 merks, and for the 
nonentry and dues of the other lands 450 merks, in all 700 merks." 

This decreet arbitral put Donald in full possession of the lands of 
Strathnaver, including Kerrownashein, which latter Joanna of Strath- 
naver bestowed upon the church of Moray before 1260. 

Towards the close of 1542, the king resolved upon a war with 
England and summoned a muster at Lauder, to which Donald 
Mackay and his son lye Du repaired accompanied by a goodly 
number of their clansmen, victualled for 40 days. As many of the 
nobles and commons had become alienated from the king in 
consequence of his opposition to the Reformation, the muster was 
not a large one, and there was an utter lack of enthusiasm. The 
disorderly army which set out for England under Oliver Sinclair, 
towards the close of the year, was completely routed at Solway Moss, 
and many of its leading men taken prisoner, among them lye Du 
Mackay who was carried captive into England. Donald Mackay 
returned to Edinburgh along with the king within three days after 
the affair at Solway Moss, as appears by the king having then granted 
to " Donald Makky of Farr and his airs " the escheated property of 
Na2o. D1X several persons in the north, absent from the king's host at Lauder, 
dated 28th Nov. 1542. Shortly thereafter the king died of a broken 
heart, leaving an only child, a few days old, Mary afterwards Queen 
of Scots ; so that upon Scotland once more fell the calamity of a long 
and troubled minority abounding in shameless misrule. 

lye Du Mackay, son of Donald of Strathnaver, joined some others 
of the Scottish leaders taken prisoner at Solway Moss in promoting, 
at the instigation of the English king, as shall be shown more fully, a 
marriage between the infant Mary of Scots and the Prince of Wales. 
Lennox, Glencairn, Angus, etc., were the leaders of this faction, and 
may be styled the Anglo-Protestant party to distinguish them from 
the Franco-Romish party of Huntly, Cardinal Beaton, the Guises. 

blk. Ms. 


1545-8] The Bishop of Caithness, Robert Stuart, took his departure for 
England and joined his brother, the Earl of Lennox, in promoting 
this scheme. For so doing he was declared rebel and deprived of his 
see, about 1545, but on abandoning Lennox and the Reformation 
party it was afterwards restored to him. When Bishop Robert of 
Caithness set out to join his brother, he made some arrangements 
with his relatives, the Earl of Caithness and Mackay, for the 
protection of his castles and churchlands. In consequence of this, 
Caithness occupied Scrabster Castle, near Thurso, and Donald 
Mackay advancing into Sutherland placed a party of his clansmen in 
Skibo Castle, under the command of Neil Mackay, an Aberach. 
Meantime, George, 4th Earl of Huntly, secured the appointment of 
his own brother, Alexander Gordon, as "postulate" of the see of 
Caithness, and was naturally supported by the Gordon Earl of 
Sutherland in the endeavour thus to capture the revenues of the 
bishoprick. 1 The Gordon plot, however, came to nothing, as Bishop 
Robert returned and was pardoned. 

Sir Win. Fraser says that during the absence of Bishop Robert 

"The see of Caithness had been bestowed in a provisional sort of 
way " — no doubt Huntly procured this from Queen Mary who was then 
about three years of age — " upon Alexander Gordon, a brother of George, 
Earl of Huntly, who was styled postulate of Caithness. The Earl of 
Caithness and Donald Mackay of Farr, at their own hand made free with 
the bishop's lands," — there is no proof for such a statement beyond what 
Sir Robert Gordon says, and we are not prepared to accept his bare word 
on such a question — "but by 1548 Robert Stuart had succeeded in 
making his peace, and was back in Caithness seeking repossession of his 

On the 28th April, 1549, the bishop brought together at Girnigo 

1 Such were the venality and avarice of the higher clergy of this period that the historian, 
John Major, a faithful son of the church, writes: — "But now for many years we have seen 
shepherds whose only care it is to find pasture for themselves, men neglectful of the duties of 

religion By open flattery do the worthless sons of our 

nobility get the governance of the convents and they covet these ample 

revenues, not for the good help that they thence might render to their brethren, but solely for the 
high position that these places offer." Major's History of Greater Britain, pp. 136, 137 (Scot. 
Hist. Soc.) 




Erld. of 

P. 112. 

Castle the Earls of Sutherland and Caithness and Donald Mackay, 
and "all four, on apparently quite equal terms, entered into a mutual 
bond of friendship and defence, swearing to be faithful to each other 
for all the days of their lives." This is the account of the affair 
which an honest writer gives, based upon documents at Dunrobin. 
In our Appendix we give the bond drawn up at Girnigo, which Sir 
Robert Gordon describes with his usual untruthfulness, as a bond of 
service so far as Mackay was concerned. 

We shall now hear what Sir Robert Gordon has to say on the 

"Thereupon the Earls of Huntly and Sutherland coming north into 
Sutherland, they did summon the Earl of Caithness and Mackay to 
compeir before them at Helmsdale, to answer for their intromission with 

the bishop's rents The Earl of Caithness compeired 

and the more to testify his submission, he crossed the 

river of Helmsdale with great danger, on foot, which was then so deep 
and overflown, by reason of the floods and speats of rain, that the water 

came to his breast, as he passed the same Donald 

Mackay was also at this time brought to the Earls of Huntly and 
Sutherland, who (upon Mackay's submission) pardoned him what was 
past ; yet he was at their command imprisoned in the Castle of Fowlis, as 
I have shown already ; by which means the diocese of Caithness was for 
some years in peace and quietness. Thus was Robert Stuart repossessed 
in his own bishoprick." 

Contrast the picture drawn by Sir Robert with that of Sir 
Win. Fraser : the former shows the Earl of Caithness sprawling in the 
river of Helmsdale with the terror of the Gordons upon him, the 
other shows him sitting in his own castle of Girnigo hospitably 
entertaining friends. As for Donald Mackay "he is brought," 
presumably a prisoner with both hands tied behind his back, or for 
that matter packed in a creel ! In his case Sir Robert does not deign 
to say how. Such is history a la Sir Robert ; and yet from this 
historian many quote with as much assurance as we would from the 
apostle Paul ! 

About this time the Mackays seem to have once more raided the 
Rosses of Balnagown as the following shows, dated 28th June, 1550. 


1550-5] "Donald Macky of Far, Neil McAne Moir, Rory McAne Moir, 

Murdoch McAne Moir, John McAne Moir, and Tormat McAne Moir, 
brothers, and Donald Du McCorkill, charged for the cruel slaughter of 

Alexander McAne Ross, etc. . . , Alexander Ross _ , 

of Balnagowh was amerciated for not reporting and delivering to the Trials i.\ 352. 
clerks of justiciary the letters which had been purchased by the wives, 
children, parents, and friends of the deceased duly executed and 

Evidently the feud with the Rosses, during which Angus Roy 
Mackay, grandfather of Donald, was burnt to death in Tarbet church, 
still continued. 

Donald Mackay, who died towards the close of 1550, married 
Helen, daughter of Alexander Sinclair of Stempster, 1 second sou of 
William, Earl of Caithness. Soon after Mackay obtained legal 
entry of his lands, he resigned a part of them to the Crown in order 
to secure for his wife a life-rent interest in the said part, viz., the 
lands of Balnaheglais and Golval, the lands of Straye, Armadale, 
Renowy, Melnes, Dirlot, Cattock, Broynoch, the water of Farr from 
the big ford to the sea, the water of Halladale from Bighouse to the 
sea, the water of Straye, the water of Hope from the loch to the sea. 
His wife, Helen, obtained a life-rent charter of these lands, dated 
22nd February, 1545, which we give in our Appendix. The issue of 
this marriage was one son and two daughters : — 

i. lye Du Mackay, who succeeded, and of whom an account follows. 

ii. A daughter, who married John, 4th Aberach Mackay chieftain, 
and had issue as given in our Genealogical Account of the 
Aberach Mackays. 


in. Florence, who married Neil Macleod of Assynt and had issue, as 
see Douglas' Baronage, p. 392, as also the Blk. MS. 

1 In the reign of King James V., Alexander Sinclair of Stempster had a charter under the 
Great Seal, dated 2nd November 1529, as follows: — " Alexandro Sinclair de Stamster et Elizabeth 
Innis, suae sponsae, terrarum de Dunbeath, Rae, et Sandside, in Baronian Dunbeth." Reg. Mag. 
Siff. and Blk. MS. 

xii. ggc p«. 


/YE DU MACK AY as we showed already took part in the affair 
1 of Solway Moss (November 1542), and being captured was 
carried prisoner into England, along with the greater part of the 
other Scottish leaders present in the engagement. King Henry VIII., 
keenly set upon a union of the two kingdoms, sought to promote this 
object by a marriage between his son Edward and the infant Mary, 
Queen of Scots. He treated the Scottish prisoners with great 
cordiality, offered them liberty to go back to Scotland without the 
usual ransom money, provided they promise to advance the proposed 
marriage in the northern kingdom ; but in case of failure they were to 
return to England as on parole. The prisoners acquiesced in this 
proposal, which found support not only among the Scottish refugees 
political and religious sheltering in England, but from many across 
the border who hoped thereby to promote a reformation of religion in 
Scotland. It was about this time that John Elder, a Caitlmessman 
in holy orders, addressed to King Henry VIII. that curious document 1 

1. The document gives an interesting glimpse of the social condition of the north at this 
period, as the following extract, which we transcribe into modern English, shows: — "Please it 
your Majesty to understand, that we of all people can tolerate, suffer, and away best with cold, 
for both summer and winter (except when frost is most vehement, going always bare legged and 
bare footed, our delight and pleasure is not only in hunting of red-deer, wolves, foxes, and wild- 
boar, whereof we abound and have great plenty, but also in running, leaping, swimming, shooting, 
and throwing of darts ; therefor, insomuch as we use and delight so to go always, the tender delicate 
gentlemen of Scotland call us Redshanks. And again in winter, when the frost is most vehement 
(as I have said), which we cannot suffer bare footed so well as snow, which can never hurt us when 
it come up to our girdles, we go ahunting, and after that we have slain red-deer, we flay off the 
skin bit by bit, and setting of our bare feet on the inside thereof, for lack of cunning shoemakers, 
by your Grace's pardon, we play the sutors ; compassing and measuring so much thereof as shall 
reach up to our ankles, pricking the upper part thereof also with holes that the water may repass 
when it enters, and tie up with a strong thong of the same, meeting above our said ankles," so, and 
please your noble Grace, we make our shoes" : — Col. de rebus Alb. 



1543-8] printed in Collectanea de rebus Albanicis, advocating a union of the 
two kingdoms by the marriage of Edward of England to Mary of 

Many of the Scottish prisoners in fulfilment of their promise went 
north during the spring of 1543, but having failed in their object, 
owing to the opposition of the Queen-mother and the Romish party, 
they returned to England according to parole. Meantime the Earl of 
Arran was made Governor of Scotland by the said party, but 
Glencairn, Angus, Lennox, etc., some in Scotland and others exiles in 
England, formed a strong league, and attacking Arran on Glasgow 
Muir in 1544 were defeated with considerable loss. Among those occckrents 

P. 32. 

who took part in the conflict at Glasgow was "Y McKy de Far" and, 
presumably, nineteen of his followers, as is shown by the remission 1 
which lye Du afterwards obtained from the Regent Arran for this 
offence, dated 10th March, 1554, shortly before the latter was elbowed 
out of office by the Guise party and joined the other faction. After 
the failure at Glasgow Mackay again returned into England, where he 
remained for three more years in the military service of that country, 
along with many of his compatriots. 

In May 1546, the exasperated reformers, in revenge for the 
burning of Wishart, assassinated Cardinal Beaton ; and in the 
following year an English army advancing into Scotland to force the 
marriage of Edward and Mary fought a pitched battle at Pinkie, 
where the Scots were overthrown and Huntly taken prisoner. It is 
very probable that Mackay took part along with other Scots in 
assisting the English that day, but certain it is that he took a 
prominent part under Lord Grey in the capture and fortification of 
Haddington during the spring of 1548. For the offence committed 
at Haddington in supporting the English, Mary granted a pardon to 
Mackay fourteen years thereafter, when he helped her in bringing 
Huntly to book, as shall be more fully described later. Sir Robert 

1. Remission to " Y McKy de Far et XIX aliorum, pro ipsorum proditoria venientia contra 
Dominum Gubernatormn super moro de Glasgw, Ac pro omnibus aliis accionibus etc., proditoria 
traditione in propriam personam Regine tantum exceptant!." Iletj. Sec. Sig., Vol. 27, p. 24. 



Eari.h. of 

Sl'TIIK. P. 136, 


Gordon states that about this time lye Du " served divers tymes in 
Avars upon the borders, against the English : in which service he 
behaved himself valiantly." The records show that he fought not 
against but with the English. The personal valour and military skill 
with which Sir Robert credits him was no doubt acquired in the 
service of England, while fighting against the ruling party in Scotland, 
but in so doing he was helping directly and indirectly to promote the 
cause of reformed religion in his own country. In the cruel conflict 
which lay before him he had need of skill and valour to preserve the 
interests of his house, which in weaker hands would have gone to 
pieces. For twenty long years after this he had to fight against the 
combined power of the Gordon Earls of Sutherland and Huntly, with 
one hand practically tied behind his back, for he could get no legal 
title to his father's lands. 

On the death of his father in 1550, lye Du returned to Strath- 
naver to secure the estate, but this was not an easy matter owing to 
his past conduct and to the influence which his opponents, Sutherland 
and Huntly, had with the governing party. The unbridled power of 
Huntly, in particular, was becoming a source of danger in the north. 
Lauchlan chief of Macintosh was executed at Aberdeen, during the 
summer of that year, on a trumped up charge of disloyalty to Huntly, 
as if the latter were a petty monarch. The sou and heir of the 
Macintosh, a boy seven years old, " having many enemies, was 
privately carried over to the laird of MacKay, namely, Aoidh mac 
Donald vie Ky (who was of kin to this Macintosh by his mother, and 
was a chief favourite of the Macintosh family)." The boy, however, 
was intercepted on the way north by some Mackenzies who fostered 
him very kindly in Gairloch. That same year the Queen-mother 
accompanied by Huntly, Sutherland, the Bishop of Caithness, etc., 
went over to France to intrigue against the Regent Arrau, and 
returned in 1551 when a meeting of Parliament was held. At that 
meeting the Earls of Sutherland and Huntly had their first innings 
against Mackay, who had made himself obnoxious to the Guise party 


Jtcn IgebtQxee : ^ifte j&Tadutys of §tvatl)navev. 

I. lye, son omepliewof Kenneth 
MacEth, b. 1210 c. (See 
Table p. 27.) 

II. lye Mor, m. dau. of Walter 
de Baltrodi, Bishop of 
Caithness, c. 1264. 

III. Donald, b. 1265 c, 

m. dau. of lye of Gigha. 

IV. lye, k. at Dingwall by 

Nicolas Sutherland, 1370. 


Donald, k. at Dingwall along 
with his father, 1370. 

Morgan. Martin. 

A quo Galloway Mackavs. 

Farquhar, physician to 
King Robert II. 


A quo Clan ERCHAR. 

(?) Mariota, handfasted wife of 
Alexander, Earl of 
Buchan, had a son, Earl 
of Mar. 

VI. Angus, m. dau. of Torquil 
Macleod, of Lewis, d. 1403. 



Huistean Du. Martin. Neil. 

A quo Polson Mackays. 

VII. Elizabeth, sister of= 
Donald, Lord of I 
the Isles. 
(1st wife). 

: Angus Du. 
k. 1433. 

VIII. Neil Vass, released from 
Bass Rock, c. 1437, ra. 
dau. of George Mnuro 
of Fowlis. | 


:A dan. of Alexander 
Carraeh Macdonald. 
(2nd wife). 


John Aberach Mackay. 


A quo Aberach Mackays. 

Rorie Gald, k. at 
Dingwall, 1411. 

IX. Angus Roy, k. at Fearn, 
m. a dau. of Mackenzie 
of Kintail. 


John Roy. 


X. John, m. but no 

male issue. 

XI. John d. without 
male issue, 

I I I 

lye Roy, m. dau. of Neil. A dau. in. to 
Norman O'Beolan of Sutherland of 

Carolway, Lewis ; d. Dilred. 

1517. I 

A dau. m. 
Hector Mac- 
kenzie of 
A u c h t e r- 

Donald, in, Helen Sin- 
clair of Stempster ; d. 
1550. | 



A dau. m. Hugh Macleod, 
of Assynt. 

XII. His cousin, Helen, =.lye Du Mackay, ^Christicm K dan. of 

dau. of Hugh 
Macleod of At 
synt. (1st wife). 

d. 1572. 

John Sinclair of 
Dun. (2nd wife). 

XIII. Donald Balloch. 



(See Table D). 

John Beg, 
k. at Dur- 
ness, 1579. 

Elizabeth Sin-: 
clair. (1st 

=Huistean Du, 
d. 1614. 

zjane Gordon. William. 
(2nd wife). | 

A qua Big- 
house Mackays. 
(See Table E). 

XIV. Christina. 

I I 

Donald, 1st Lord John. 
(See Table B). 

A quo Strathy Mackays 
(See Table F). 


Annas, m. Sinclair 
of Brims. 

Mary, m. 1st, Sir Hector 
Munro ; 2nd, Alex- 
Gunn of Killearnan. 



Beg. Sec. Sig. 

Bai. four's 
Annals, I. , 306. 



by his late support of the English claims. The deceased Donald 
Mackay of Strathnaver was declared to have died illegitimate, his son 
lye Du was disinherited and his lands bestowed upon Bishop Reid 
of Orkney. Of course, Bishop Reid was a mere tulchan ; the milk 
was intended to be drawn by others. 

In 1552 the Queen-mother and Regent Arran held a court at 
Inverness to which John of Moidart, the Earl of Caithness, Mackay, 
etc., were summoned, but all the three refused to put in an appear- 
ance. Mackay knew that Inverness meant irons, and wisely stayed 
at home. On the 13th September, 1553, a complaint was laid before 
the Privy Council that Mackay and Caithness caused slaughters, 
spoils, etc., in the north, and Caithness was again summoned to 
appear at Inverness before Huntly, " Lieutenant General of these 
parts." The following year Huntly received a commission to 
apprehend John of Moidart, but failed in the enterprise, and by a 
strange turn of the wheel Huntly found himself flung into prison by 
his opponents. About the same time Sutherland was empowered to 
apprehend Mackay. and to this end made great preparations. While 
Sutherland marched with a large force of northern levies, Kennedy of 
Girvanmains was sent from Leith with a fleet to co-operate by sea. 
Kennedy sailed during the month of August, 1554, on board the ship 
" Lion," laden with cannon taken from Leith, and manned by 50 
marines and 20 men-at-arms. The principal point of attack was 
Mackay 's stronghold, Borve Castle, on a promontory of the Aird of 
Farr. When Mackay found Borve beseiged and battered by artillery 
both ashore and afloat, he left the castle iu charge of his cousin, 
Rory mac-Ean mor, and quietly slipping away made for the heights of 
Strathnaver, whence with a body of Aberachs he made a dash into 
Sutherland and set the country a-blazing, as Sir Gobert Gordon 
informs us. Skilful captain though he was, the odds against Mackay 
were too great. Borve Castle was broken down after a sanguinary 
seige, Mackay was at last captured and imprisoned in Dumbarton 
Castle, where he lay from 1st February to 20th October, 1555. 


1555-62] At a circuit court held at Inverness this same year (1555), the 

Queen-mother rewarded the Earl of Sutherland by a pension of 1000 
merks, which was to cease " when the queen was able to confer on 
him wards and marriages, or on some friends such a benefice as 
should be equal to that amount. At the same time she conferred on SuTHR . B k. i. 
him the care of the earldom of Ross, and appointed him bailie of the 
lands of Farr." Thus Sutherland was enabled, by the assistance of a 
fleet from Leith and levies of men throughout the north, not only to 
capture his neighbour, Mackay, who was fighting for his rightful 
patrimony, but to get Mackay 's lands in stewartship and to earn a 
yearly pension of 1000 merks to boot. The capture of Mackay must 
have been considered or represented as a great exploit in view of 
these rewards. While Mackay was lying in Dumbarton Castle his 
clansmen did not let the grass grow under their feet. His cousin 
John Mor entered Sutherland " with a company of the best and most 
resolute men in all Strathnaver, spoiling and wasting the east corner 
of the province of Sutherland," says Sir Robert. During this raid the 
Mackays had a fierce fight at Garvary in the Berriedale hills, and are 
declared defeated by Sir Robert, as a matter of course ! 

Francis the husband of Queen Mary died in December, 1560 ; the 
following year the widowed queen returned to Scotland, and in 1562 
resolved to visit Elizabeth, Queen of England. Letters, dated May, 
1562, were sent to Mackay commanding an escort to accompany 
Mary on her journey south, but the project was suddenly abandoned, bi.k. Ms 

. . Treasur. 

Ine queen not having gone to England, as she intended, set out on a account. 
tour towards Inverness by way of Aberdeen in August of that year. 
The Guises had flattered Huntly with the prospect of the widowed 
queen's hand for his second son, Sir John Gordon, but Mary would 
have none of it. A few days after her arrival in Aberdeen, such was 
the queen's resentment towards Huntly for his political duplicity, that 
she refused to go three miles out of her way to visit his house, 
notwithstanding a pressing invitation. When Inverness was reached 
Mary resolved to lodge in the castle, but was refused admission by 




No. 22. 

For. Cal. 
Eliz. V., Si 

Acts of Par. 
I., 579-81. 

the governor, a Gordon, who held the castle as the representative of 
Lord Gordon. This was lording it rather too much for Mary's taste. 
The neighbouring clans were immediately summoned to her standard, 
and next day the Macintoshes, Grants, and Frasers having joined the 
royal escort took the castle and hanged the governor. After a few 
days stay at Inverness, Mary set out for Aberdeen on her return 
journey, and as an attack from Huntly was anticipated the assembled 
clansmen escorted her safely all the way. At Aberdeen, on the 5th 
October, the queen granted lye Mackay a full remission for joining 
the English at Haddington and for all other acts against the 
Government, as was already shown. 

On the 17th October, Huntly was put to the horn and commanded 
to deliver up his house of Strathbogie, but he refused to do so and 
strengthened himself in Badenoch. The clans who were at feud with 
Huntly were given a free hand to deal with him, and among his most 
vehement opponents were the Macintoshes, Mackays, and Forbeses, 
who were no doubt glad to get such ail opportunity. Huntly, game 
to the last, advanced to meet them, but was completely overpowered 
and slain in battle at Corrichie. His second son, Sir John Gordon, 
Avas taken prisoner and soon thereafter executed at Aberdeen. On 
the 28th May of the following year, the embalmed body of Huntly 
was arraigned in the presence of Mary at the bar of Parliament — 
"the coffin was sette upright, as if the Earle stoode upon his feet" — 
when he was duly found guilty of treason, his lands escheated to the 
Crown, his dignity extinguished, his arms cancelled, and his posterity 
declared henceforward incapable of bearing office within the realm of 
Scotland ! On the same day the Earl of Sutherland, who had 
meantime fled the country, was also condemned to death by 
Parliament for art and part in Huntly's treason, but this latter 
sentence was never carried into execution, and four years thereafter it 
was reduced, when Sutherland was permitted to return to Scotland. 
These dreadful sentences give some idea of the way in which the law 
was administered in those rude, unsettled days. The irony of the 


1565-7] situation appears when it is remembered that within four years 
thereafter, Mary in her distress had to lean for support upon the son 
and heir of the very Huntly, whose dead body she dragged to the bar 
of Parliament ! 

The queen created Darnley Lord of Ardmanach and Earl of Ross 
on the 15th May, 1565, on the 18th June she bestowed upon him the 
lands of Strathuaver, and on the 29th June she married him. The keg. mag. sig. 
union was a short and unhappy one. On the 29th February, 1567, 
Darnley was blown up at Kirk 0' Fields, and it is generally supposed 
that Bothwell and George Gordon, now restored to the earldom of 
Huntly, bore some guilt in this affair. On the 3rd May of the same 
year Lady Jane Gordon, Huntly's sister, divorced her husband, 
Bothwell, in order to facilitate, as many suppose, his projected 
marriage with Queen Mary which took place about a fortnight 
afterwards. That there was collusion between Bothwell, his wife, 
her brother Huntly, and the queen in connection with the shameless 
divorce proceedings, appears very likely. Huntly's feelings, however, 
were salved by the queens gift of Mackay's escheated lands of 
Strathuaver, which Parliament ratified on the 19th April at a packed 
meeting, attended by very few members owing to the deplorable 
misconduct of the queen at this period. To round off the shameless 
imbroglio, Alexander, Earl of Sutherland, discarded his wife, Lady 
Barbara Sinclair, and married by a dispensation of the Pope, Lady 
Jane Gordon, the lately divorced Lady Bothwell. Sir Robert 
Gordon, the historian, who took such a pleasure in bastardizing his 
neighbours, was a son of this marriage by dispensation. No doubt 
the marriage was an astute move on the part of Sutherland to get 
some share of Mackay's escheated lands. At anyrate it so turned 
out, for Huntly eventually passed them over to Sutherland. 

We shall now consider the plea upon which Mackay's lands were 
escheated and given to Huntly. It was asserted that Donald 
Mackay, the father of lye Du, was a bastard, and consequently 
debarred by law from inheriting his father's estate ; but bastard or 



Nos. 13, 19, 20. 

Scot. Hist. 

riot he held the said lands on a charter under the Great Seal granted 
to him by King James V., and added considerably to the estate by 
purchase and otherwise. Donald's father did contract an irregular 
marriage, a common enough practice in those days, but he obtained a 
precept of legitimation from the king for his two sons, John and 
Donald, dated 8th August, 151 1. 1 It seems most unjust to punish 
the grandson for a slight flaw in his grandfather's marriage — a flaw 
which was afterwards remedied — especially seeing that the son of the 
said marriage duly succeeded to the inheritance. There was a flaw 
in Queen Mary's own marriage with Darnley, and the issue, James 
VI., was a bastard according to the very canon law by which lye Du 
Mackay was disinherited. Father Pollen shows conclusively that the 
necessary dispensation to legalise the marriage of Mary and Darnley, 
which took place on the 20th June, 1565, was not issued by the Pope 
till the 24th September of that year, for a marriage which had by law 
to be contracted thereafter. Mary in her haste married before the 
dispensation was issued, and her marriage was at fault in consequence. 
Nay more, the English Catholic exiles, who were opposed to James 
VI.'s succession to the throne of England in the event of Elizabeth's 
death, objected to James' legitimacy because there was no proper 
dispensation given for the marriage of his father and mother. In the 
light of these facts lye Mackay must appear as a badly used man. 

It was no wonder although Mackay became furious when he 
heard what had taken place. Realizing that the ultimate gainer in 
this transaction must be the Earl of Sutherland, as Huntly was too 
distant to make use of the Strathnaver lands, he burst into Suther- 
land, wasted the barony of Skibo and set the town of Dornoch on fire. 
That same year he returned again and made havoc on Strathflete, 
according to Sir Robert Gordon. Huntly raised the matter in 
Parliament, and had the following notice entered on the minutes : — 
"26 December, 1567, Item, be quhat means may all Scotland be 

1. Preceptum legitimationis Johannis et Donaldi Makky, fratrum, filiorum Odonis Makky tie 
Strathnavern, etc., in debita forma, cum novis additinnibus, etc. Apud Edinburgh, VIII August! 
anno Domini MVCXI, et Eegni Regis XXIIII :— lleg. Sec. Sig., Vol. IV., p. 145. 


1570] brocht to universal obedience, and how may McKy be dantonit." 

This question was doubtless raised to terrorize Mackay ; but we do 
not find that any action was taken, for the pendulum of influence 
began to swing the other way. Mary was now in disgrace, and 
Moray, the friend of Mackay and the opponent of Huntly, was 
Regent. If the Regent Moray had not fallen prematurely at the 
hands of an assassin it is probable that Mackay would have come to 
his own. 

Huntly conscious of the uncertainty of the times found it prudent 
to arrange a settlement with Mackay, which the latter accepted with 
a wry face upon the advice of his friend Lord Forbes. An agreement 
was concluded at Aberdeen, 29th July, 1570, between Huntly, 
Sutherland, and Mackay, by which Huntly alienated all the Strath- 
naver lands to Mackay for the paltry sum of 3000 merks, retaining 
the feudal superiority however. This small sum, which was about appendix 

No. 23. 

sufficient to cover the legal expenses of the transaction, tells its own 
tale. To acknowledge the superiority of Huntly, however, must have 
been a bitter pill to Mackay, but it could not be helped. Some years 
thereafter, the son and heir of Huntly disponed the said superiority to 
the Earl of Sutherland, and then for the first time the house of 
Sutherland became the superior of the house of Mackay ; but that 
matter shall be discussed and exposed in the proper place. Suffice it 
to say, meantime, that Mackay had sasine of the lands of Strathnaver 
the 20th April, 1571, on a charter of alienation by Huntly. ibid. no. 26 

Few men could have fought so successfully and for such a length 
of time as did lye Du Mackay, against the combined power of the 
Gordons in the north at this period. If he came out of the twenty 
years' conflict winged, small wonder ; it was not a fair fight. Sword 
in hand he could hold his own with the best of them : after 
ransacking the north for levies, the Gordons must needs bring a fleet 
from Leith at the expenses of the Governmeut to capture him. No, 
it was a foul pen in a corrupt court that did the dirty deed to 
Mackay. If this were the place, we could show that about the same 

104 XII. IYE DU 

Keat Papers. 

period Huntly secured superiority over other Highland chieftains by 
somewhat similar left-handed means. 

Ill the transactions regarding the lands of Strathnaver between 
Huntly and Mackay, Lord Forbes did the kinsman's part to the 
latter, as various documents among the Beay Papers show. The 
warrant granted by Huntly, dated 23rd February, 1570, was in 
favour of Lord Forbes and lye Mackay, the former to retain the 
charter of infeftment, post dated, until the latter handed over the 
money to Huntly. Again, when full payment was made in July of 
that year the witnesses were Alexander Dridmont of Medoc, William 
Cidney, notar, burgess of Inverness, Patrick Forbes servitor to Win. 
Lord Forbes, and Mr James Forbes servitor to Mr Donald Forbes of 
Menynmsk. These facts serve to show how closely knit together the 
Mackays and Forbeses were at this time. About 1529 we saw 
Donald Mackay assisting Forbes, and now we find the Forbeses 
assisting the son of Donald Mackay. There must be truth in the 
statement of later writers, that the Mackays and Forbeses believed 
they sprang from -a common stock. 

Meantime Mackay vigorously maintained his alliance with George, 
Earl of Caithness, who held the earldom of Sutherland in ward in 
consequence of the youth of Alexander, Earl of Sutherland, and was 
also Justiciar of Caithness, Strathnaver, and Sutherland. Although 
Sutherland escaped to his brother-in-law Huntly, Caithness held to 
his rights of wardship and found a willing ally in Mackay. For so 
doing Sir Robert Gordon draws the character of the Earl of Caithness 
in lurid colours, but he was not by any means so black as the 
chronicler would have us believe. Modern popular writers, who 
make Sir Robert their historical vade mecum, describe Caithness as 
" Earl George the wicked." There is very little reason to believe that 
the Justiciar was much worse than his contemporaries. 

During the years 1571-2, while Hnntly, with the assistance of the 
escaped Earl of Sutherland, assailed the Forbeses in Aberdeenshire 
with considerable success, Caithness and Mackay swept everything 



1571-21 before them in Sutherland. Caithness took and occupied Dunrobih 
Castle, while Mackay and the Master of Caithness went up and down 
the country hustling the Earl of Sutherland's followers, until scarce 
one man of standing remained to oppose them. Murray of Aberscross 
fled to Strathbogie, Gordon of Drummuie to Orkney, Gray of Skibo EARLD . f 
to St. Andrews, and the chieftain of Clan Gunn to Glengarry. 
During these peregrinations of Mackay and Sinclair they spoiled 
Dornoch ; and as some of the Murrays fled to the cathedral and kept 
up a shower of arrows from the steeple, the sacred edifice was given 
to the flames. In all these warlike demonstrations Mackay seems to 
have acted as leader, in consequence of his military experience. If 
Mackay 's court influence had in anyway equalled his skill with the 
sword, Huntly would never have wrung from him the agreement 
of 1570. 

We conclude that Mackay was a man of more than ordinary 
strength and of iron endurance, for two years before the close of his 
life, and when an old man, he was overtaken by a snowstorm of such 
severity, while crossing the Crask in the dead of winter, that 18 of his 
company perished and only two or three of the stoutest managed to 
push on along with him. This was more than an ordinary feat for a 
man of about 70 years of age. The cruel misrepresentations of Sir 
Robert Gordon have led some to conclude that lye Du lived a wild, 
turbulent life. Of fighting he certainly did more than his share ; but 
much of it was on the side of civil liberty and for the reformation of 
religion in Scotland, which is more than cau be said for the 
" virtuous " paragons before whom Sir Robert would have us fall 

lye Mackay died in November 15/2, as appears from a document 
among the Sutherland Papers, according to Mr Mackay of Black- 
castle. His first wife was his first cousin, Helen, daughter of Hugh 
Macleod of Assint, who bore him two sous. As the marriage of first 
cousins then required a dispensation of the Pope to make it legal, and 
as Mackay neglected to secure this, the children were debarred from 

Ibid. p. I6i 

106 XII. I YE DU 

the succession by canon law. The children of this marriage were : — 

i. John Beg, who was killed in a skirmish at Bal naked, Durness, 

it. Donald Balloch, who became progenitor of the Scoury Mackays, 
and whose descendants are given in our account of that family. 

The second wife of lye Du was Christian, daughter of John 
Sinclair of Dun, Caithness, by whom he had two sons and three 
daughters : — 

Hi. Huistean Du, who succeeded his father, and of whom an account 

iv. William of Bighouse, who became the progenitor of the Bighouse 
Mackays, and whose descendants are given in our account of 
that family. 

v. Eleanor, who married Donald Banc Macleod of Assint. 

vi. Jane, who married Alexander Sutherland of Berridale. 

vii. Barbara, who married Alexander Macdavid, chieftain of the clan 
Gunn. The eldest son of this marriage was William Macallister, 
chieftain of Gunn, who succeeded to the lands of Killernan 19th 
February, 1614, as is recorded in a document at Dunrobin of 
which an extract is given in the Blh. MS. 


XIII. "glmsfecm g>it. 


WHEN" lye Du Mackay of Strathnaver died in 1572 his son 
Huistean Du 1 was barely eleven years of age. From that 
date onward for about twenty years Scotland was sadly torn 
and grievously misgoverned. A prisoner in England, intriguing for 
personal liberty and for the supremacy of the Romish religion, Queen 
Mary kept the country in a ferment until the axe ended her career 
upon the block in 1587. Her son, James VI., was during all this 
time a minor, now in the hands of one faction and then in that of 
another, tossed to and fro like a ball and often a close prisoner 
practically. The great barons schemed and fought to advance their 
own interests with little regard for those of the country generally, 
some of them in the pay of France and others in that of England. 
The strong and crafty grasped what they could ; the weak were 
trampled upon, and oftentimes robbed by the arm of the law. It 
stood ill with justice then, unless it happened to be well supported by 
the strong hand. 

In the far north Alexander, Earl of Sutherland (who attained his 
majority in 1573), and George, 4th Earl of Caithness, were arrayed in 
deadly feud the one against the other. Both were strong, and 
unscrupulous in keeping with the time. Behind Sutherland was 
George, 5th Early of Huntly, whose sister, Lady Bothwell, Sutherland 

1. He signed his name Houcheon Macky, but was and is known among his country men as 
Huistean Du na Tuaigh, that is, Black Hugh of the Battleaxe, in consequence of his fondness for 
the axe as a weapon. ^ Houcheon is a form of Huistean: the English equivalent is Hugh. 



married ; but Caithness was strong too in the possession of the 
justiciarship of these northern parts, including the country of Suther- 
land. Between them lay the boy Huistean Du, fair game for both, 
and weak withal in that he was the head of a divided clan. As lye 
Du died within two years after obtaining a charter for his lands, he 
had not sufficient time to consolidate the interests of his house ; and 
when his strong skilful hand was removed those who followed the 
banner of Mackay began to fall asunder. There was also a difference 
of opinion in the Clan as to who was the rightful chief. Some 
favoured John Beg and Donald Balloch, sons of the first marriage — 
an irregular one according to canon law because it was a marriage of 
first cousins — while others supported Huistean Du, a son of the 
second marriage. When Huistean obtained legal possession of his 
lauds, he bestowed Scoury upon Donald Balloch, the only surviving 
sou of the first marriage, and in this way effected a kind of settlement; 
but meantime, and at a very critical juncture, the two families were 

Young Huistean and his brother William, afterwards of Bighouse, 
became wards of George, 4th Earl of Caithness, with whom they 
resided at Girnigo until the elder of the two was fit to take the 
government into his own hands. Meantime John Mor, an accomp- 
lished and experienced soldier, cousin of lye Du, governed Strathnaver 
as tutor. It was this John Mor that led the Strathnaver men when 
lye Du lay a prisoner in Dumbarton, and it was his son Rorie who 
held Borve Castle during its siege in 1554. The Earl of Caithness, not 
finding John Mor pliant enough, inveigled him down to Girnigo and 
there had him put to death. Then John Beg, the half-brother of 
Huistean, took up the reins in Strathnaver ; but he also proved so 
unsatisfactory in the eyes of the Lord of Girnigo, that he instigated 
the Aberachs to attack him on the plea of alleged unfaithfulness to 
Huistean. This the Aberachs and the Macleods of Assynt did at 
Balnakiel, Durness, in 15/9, killing John Beg, William Gunu brother 
of the chieftain of the Robson Gunns, and many others ; while the 


1579-83] chieftain of the Mathiesons, who was with John Beg, barely escaped 
with his life. The affair of Durness was most embarrassing to 
M ackay ; it broke up his late father's followers into two sharply 
divided parties. The Robson Gunns (the friends of John Beg) and 
the Mathiesons were ranged in deadly feud against the Macleods and 
the Aberachs, the latter a powerful family of Mackays. 1 These two 
factious, but especially the Aberachs and Gunns, maintained for many 
years a bitter intestine warfare, which resulted in nothing that we are 
aware of except their own injury. On the fall of John Beg, Huistean 
Du in his eighteenth year picked up the reins of the unruly team 
himself. As he could not unite the two factions he had to choose 
between them, and his choice fell upon the party opposed to the 
Aberachs. The latter then rushed into the open arms of the Earl of 
Sutherland, who was only too glad to acquire such allies. It does 
not appear that the Aberachs and Huistean Du ever became 
thoroughly reconciled, neither docs it appear that there was much 
warm attachment between them and his successor, Donald, 1st Lord 
Reay, during the earlier years of his government. In these circum- 
stances Huistean was heavily handicapped for the struggle that lay 
before him. 

Towards the close of 15/6, George, 5th Earl of Huntly, suddenly 
died leaving a son, George, 14 years of age, who became 6th Earl of 
that name. That same year Huntly conferred upon Alexander, Earl 
of Sutherland, the ward and nonentry of the Strathnaver lands, from 
the date of lye Du Mackay's death. Sutherland, however, failed to 

J _ J ' _ ' SOTHR. BK. 

secure possession of the person of the minor, Huistean Du, as his L U1 - 
friends bad placed him under the protection of the Earl of Caithness. 
In 1583 George, 4th Earl of Caithness, died at Edinburgh and was 
succeeded by his grandson, George, 5th Earl of that name. In this 
year also, George, 6th Earl of Huntly, came of age and forthwith gave 
the superiority of Strathnaver, which his father had obtained from 
Queen Mary in 1567, to his aunt's husband, and his own curator, 

1. Sir Robert Gordon, writing a few years later, says that the Aberachs are " the most populus 
race of the Clau vie Morgan at this day " : — Earld. of SutTir. , p. 304. 



Alexr., Earl of Sutherland, in exchange for the lands of Aboyne. It 
is questionable whether this transaction was strictly legal. 1 Be that 
as it may, Sutherland hastened to fortify the much prized gift as best 
he could. 

By some manoeuvring on the part of Sutherland at this time, a 
sister of young Huntly was given in marriage to the young Earl of 
Caithnesss. This was no doubt an astute move to create a line of 
cleavage between Mackay and Caithness, which unfortunately for 
both of them was eventually too successful. So long as Mackay and 
Caithness stood together, notwithstanding the defection of some of 
Mackay's clansmen, they were more than a match for Sutherland ; but 
once they fell asunder they both became his prey in the circumstances. 
Sutherland now drew another arrow from his quiver which he shot 
cleverly. In 1588 he resigned Huntly's gift of the superiority of 
Strathnaver into the king's hands, and on the 29th May of that year 
induced his Majesty to convey the said superiority by a charter under 
the Great Seal to his eldest son and heir, John Master of Sutherland, 
a boy of nine years, now created Lord Strathnaver. Thus, what 
Queen Mary in an hour of shame and desperation gave to the 5th 
Earl of Huntly as a bribe, and what the 6th Earl handed over to his 
curator, Sutherland, in exchange for the lands of Aboyne, the latter 
now resigned to the king in order to secure it by royal charter to his 
own son and heir. 

We shall now retrace our steps a little and consider the situation 
in the north about 1585, but in so doing, unfortunately, our authority 
for the most part is Sir Robert Gordon. On the one side the houses 
of Sutherland and Huntly stood firmly together, as they had done 
during the past 75 years, having now along with them the Aberach 
Mackays and some Macleods of Assynt, confederates in the fight at 
Durness. On the other side stood the Earl of Caithness, Huisteau 
Du Mackay with his followers, and the Robson Gunns, by no means 

1. In the Parliament of 1401, during the reign of King Rohert III., an Act was passed to 
prevent the common practice of imposing a new superior upon a vassal without his consent: — 
Megiam Majestatem, p. 51, etc. Certainly Mackay's consent was never asked and would not he 


j85-6] so firmly wedded together. There were strong ties binding Mackay 
to Caithness ; the former was fostered at Girnigo and his wife was an 
aunt of the earl, but on the other hand the earl was about to be 
married to a sister of Huntly. As for the Gunns, their bloody feud 
with the Aberachs during the past six years compelled them to cleave 
closely to Mackay for protection. 

In 1585 the Earls of Huntly and Sutherland had a meeting with 
the Earl of Caithness at Elgin, when the two former earls endeavoured 
to break up the confederacy of Sinclair, Mackay and Gunn. On 
condition that Caithness helped to destroy the Robson Gunns, they 
offered him an alliance sealed by the hand of Huntly's sister in 
marriage. To destroy the Gunns, who were a thorn in the side of 
Sutherland and a tower of strength to himself and to Mackay, was a 
proposal which Caithness should not have entertained for a moment ; 
and if it had been made to his late grandfather he would have 
rejected it with scorn, as would any sensible man. But the present 
Earl of Caithness, who had none of his grandfather's wisdom and 
prudence, weakly agreed to the proposal though on his return home 
he changed his mind. In consequence of this vacillation Caithness 
was invited to another meeting with the two earls at Dunrobin, and 
this time Mackay was also asked to join in the conference. Mackay, 
however, flatly refused to take any part in the meeting, but Caithness 
went and a second time agreed to the suicidal policy of destroying his 
best friends, the Gunns. 

The conspiracy against the Gunns made such progress that in 
1586 two parties, the one equipped by the Earl of Sutherland and the 
other by the Earl of Caithness, set out to surround and to cut them 
off. The Gunns, duly apprised of the state of affairs, retired from 
Caithness into the hills of Strathnaver carefully watching the move- 
ments of the pursuing Sinclairs ; and now a strange thing happened, 
which completely upset the calculations of the two earls. At this 
juncture William Mackay, afterwards of Bighouse, raided the 
Macleods of Corrie-Kinloch, at the head of Loch Shin, taking much 


spoil in cattle. As the Mackays were returning home with the 
" lifted " cattle, they came athwart the Sutherland men advancing in 
search of the Gunns, and a plucky fight for the spoil was the result. 
All day long the Mackays fought a rear-guard action, taking advantage 
of the inequalities of the rough ground to hold their opponents in 
check, as they drove the cattle along. From this circumstance the 
battle came to be known as La Tom Fraoich, that is, the Day of the 
Heather-Bush, as they skirmished from bush to bush. 

Towards daybreak the following morning the Mackays stumbled 
across the Gunns, retiring before the Sinclairs, in the neighbourhood 
of Altgawn, and after a hasty consultation it was resolved to join 
forces and give battle to the men of Caithness. The Sinclairs 
unaware of what had taken place, and under the impression that they 
were about to attack the Gunns only, boldly pressed up the hill under 
a shower of arrows. In an instant, the Gunns and the Mackays 
rushing sword in hand swept them down the brae, killing their 
leader, Henry Sinclair, cousin of the Earl of Caithness, and seven 
score of his followers. When the Earl of Sutherland's party, a little 
later, discovered what had taken place they discreetly returned home 
as quickly as possible, leaving the Mackays and the Gunns in 
undisturbed possession of the spoils. 

At this time Huistean Du Mackay was at Girnigo endeavouring, 
no doubt, to stiffen his alliance with the Earl of Caithness and to 
moderate the latter's zeal against the Gunns ; but when the news of 
Altgawn reached them such was the anger of Caithness that Mackay 
had to fly home for safety. Redoubled efforts were now made by the 
two earls to crush the Robson Gunns, who finding that Mackay could 
not protect them retired into Ross, to be severely handled at 
Lcckmelm that same year by their inveterate foes, the Aberach 
Mackays. That one section of Huistean Du's clansmen should help 
the Gunns at Altgawn, and another defeat them at Leckmelm very 
soon thereafter, clearly shows how sadly divided the Mackays were 
at this period. 


1587] The zeal of the Earl of Caithness for the Gordons could not and 

did not last long, for the Earl of Sutherland was bent upon self- 
aggrandizement. The lands of Strathullie which Adam, Earl of 
Sutherland, gave to Caithness in 1516, and the church-lands of 
Caithness which Bishop Robert gave to his brother-in-law, the Earl 
of Sutherland, at the Reformation, were the immediate questions 
in dispute between the two houses. The present Earl of Sutherland 
sought to recover the lands of Strathullie and to exercise jurisdiction 
over church-lands within the earldom of Caithness, in a way that 
offended the Earl of Caithness. Here was material enough for an 
explosion, to which George Gordon of Marie in Strathullie speedily 
applied the match. As some riding horses of the Earl of Caithness 
were fording the river near Marie, on their way home from Edinburgh 
in charge of servants, Gordon took the liberty of docking their tails 
and of sending his compliments to Girnigoe in somewhat 
unparliamentary terms. To avenge this insult a party was secretly 
dispatched to Marie who killed Gordon in February, 1587, and 
meantime preparations were made to invade Sutherland on a large 

The following month (March), Caithness supported by the Master 
of Orkney, Huistean Du Mackay, etc. advanced towards Helmsdale 
with a considerable force of Caithness, Orkney, and Strathnaver men. 
They found the Earl of Sutherland supported by the Macintosh, 
Mackenzie of Redcastle, Munro of Contalich, etc., posted on the 
western bank of the river, and for some days there was constant 
skirmishing between the armies on both sides of the water. While 
this was going on the Earl of Sutherland intrigued to break up the 
Caithness confederacy, and to this end sent Macintosh secretly across 
the river to urge his friend Mackay to desert the Earl of Caithness ; earld. of 

° . SUTHR. P. 195. 

but Huistean Du would not listen to such a proposal. An other party 
from the Sutherland side paid a secret visit to the Earl of Caithness, 
offering certain terms on condition that Mackay be not included in 
the treaty. To this proposal the weak-minded Caithness foolishly 



and basely agreed. As soon as Mackay discovered that Caithness 
had proved false once more, he evacuated his position opposite Marie 
and marched his men home to Strathnaver in disgust. 

Huistean Du clearly saw that the vacillating Earl of Caithness, 
who had lately sacrificed the gallant Gunns at the bidding of the 
Gordons, and who had now proved dastardly false to himself, was not 
to be trusted. While Alexr., Earl of Sutherland, with consummate 
ability was striving to break up the opposing confederacy, George, 5th 
Earl of Caithness, with consummate folly was unintentionally playing 
into his hands. In these circumstances Mackay, convinced of the 
impracticability of the Caithness alliance, having discarded his wife, 
Lady Elizabeth Sinclair, 1 aunt of the Earl of Caithness, showed a 
disposition to come to terms with the Earl of Sutherland, and 
received every encouragement to do so. 

The situation was as follows, briefly stated. Alexr., Earl of 
Sutherland, who had obtained the ward and nonentry of the lands of 
Strathnaver and the superiority of the said lands, both from Huntly, 
resigned these gifts into the king's hands in 1588 in order to secure 
them by royal charter for his son, the Master of Sutherland, that 
same year. Huistean Du Mackay, who came of age in 1582, refused 
all along to admit the superiority of the Earl of Sutherland, and 
consequently found himself without any legal charter to his father's 
lands in 1588, when mutual friends endeavoured to effect a 
reconciliation between him and Sutherland. During the sixteen 
years that the lands of Strathnaver were in nonentry (since the death 
of lye Du), the dues mounted up to £50,000 Scots, but such was 
the anxiety of Sutherland to secure the alliance of Mackay, that he 
offered to cancel these dues 2 and to give him the hand of Lady Jane 
Gordon, his eldest daughter, in marriage on condition that Mackay 

1. Alexander, Earl of Sutherland, had discarded her sister, Lady Barbara Sinclair, his first 
wife ; so that both these ladies were vei-y unfortunate in their marriages. The foul charges of 
adultery, which Sir Robert Gordon brings against these ladies, we do not accept : if this were the 
place to do it, we believe we could show that these stories are false. 

2. A cancelled bond to this effect, amounting to £50,000 Scots, is preserved among the Reay 


1589] acknowledged his superiority. Mackay agreed and married Lady 

Jane in December, 1589, but he never did reconcile himself to the 
position of vassalage which he now occupied towards his father-in- 
law, and which put his house inferior to that of Sutherland for the 
first time in history. 

Mackay did not obtain warrandice of the lands of Strathnaver 
until John, Master of Sutherland, who held the superiority by royal 
charter, attained his majority and succeeded to the earldom. In this 
there was no hardship, however, as Mackay never had to pay nonentry 
and succession dues, but it served to keep him faithful to Sutherland. 
As there was some dispute regarding the fifteen davoch church-lauds 


of Durness, the matter was submitted to arbitration, and eventually 

Mackay secured them in perpetual fee for the yearly sum of c £84 

Scots, 1 which his descendents ever afterwards continued to pay to the 

family of Sutherland, until the latter purchased the property in 1829. 

As soon as the Earl of Sutherland secured the alliance of Mackay 

"he bendeth himself altogether against the Earle of Catteyness." „ 

00 J Earld. of 

This was just what he had been working for all the time, and if SuTHR ' p - 195 - 
Caithness had been a wise man he could have prevented it. 
Sutherland picked a quarrel, and advancing across the Ord 
accompanied by Mackay, Macintosh, Munro, etc., swept the country 
to the walls of Girnigoe Castle, whither the Earl of Caithness 
had retired. As the castle was too strong to take without 
artillery, the assembled troops were permitted to sack the town of 
Wick, and so thoroughly did they carry out the congenial task that 
even the resting places of the dead were pilfered. In search of 
jewellery, they burst open the vaulted tomb of the Earls of Caithness 
and, under the impression that they had discovered something 
of value, carried off a leaden casket containing the heart of the late 

1. The Sutherland family held these lands of the Bishop of Moray for a similar duty of £84 
Scots, which lapsed, no doubt, on the final overthrow of Episcopacy in Scotland. This serious loss 
of church property greatly impoverished the livings of Strathnaver ever afterwards. Cardinal 
Sermonetta in a letter to Pope Paul IV. regarding Scotland, dated 1556, writes : — " For about 40 
years various prelates and other ecclesiastical persons have alienated (usually in favour of the 
more powerful nobles) a great quantity of immovable goods of notable value belonging to churches 
etc." : — Pollen's Papal Negotiations, p. 52S (Scot, Hist. Soc.) 



Earld. of 

SUTHR. P. 198. 

earl. La na Creich Mor, The day of the Great Spoil (February, 
1589), is the name by which the exploits of that day were 

The late allies of the Earl of Caithness, the Mackays and the 
Robson Gunns, whom he had so madly alienated, were now in the 
field against him and had their revenge. It should also be observed 
that the family of Sinclair never afterwards held the same command- 
ing position in northern politics. At Whitsunday of the same year, 
MacHamish Gunn of Killearnan again wasted Caithness with great 
ferocity. " They ranged at large, spoiled and wasted frielie all the 
countrie before them, filled many places with rwyne and desolation, 
pursued the enemie with bloodie execution, so long as their furie did 

last and this was called Creach ne Kamish." 

In June following, James Sinclair of Murkle, brother of the Earl of 
Caithness, made a counter raid into Sutherland but was met in the 
heights of Brora by Mackay, where a fierce fight took place in which 
Huistean Du used his battle-axe to some purpose. Sir Robert 
Gordon, who is never lavish in his praise of Mackays, writes : — 

Earld. of 
Suthr., 199. 

" Mackay, with bold adventure of his own person, of all the rest most 
forward. . . . crossed the water which was betuin him and the 
enemie, with some few gentlemen in his company. . . and although 
the danger was apparent, yet the Sutherland men were ashamed to 
forsake him, who did fight so manfullie in their defence, with a resolute 
courage and undaunted heart." 

Ibid. 174. 

It is evident that whatever may have been Huistean Du's defects, 
like his father he did not lack courage. The following year (1590), 
the Earl of Caithness invaded Sutherland in person, and advancing as 
far as Brora fought stubbornly. Meantime Mackay slipped over 
Drumholstein and spoiled Caithness to the gates of Thurso. Well 
might the unhappy Earl of Caithness rue the day he basely deserted 
the Mackays and the Gunns — he was suffering for it now. Neither 
had Mackay his sorrows to seek because of the bloody intestine 
warfare raging in Strathnaver, for some time after 1590, in which the 

Eakld. op 


1601] Aberach Mackays took such a conspicuous part. Details are lacking 

but this strife seems to us very senseless and suicidal — it just suited 
the policy of the Sutherland family, and greatly helped its 

Alexander, Earl of Sutherland, an exceedingly able man, died in 
1594, and was succeeded by his son John, who married Agnes, 
daughter of Lord Elphingstone, Treasurer of Scotland. Through the 
Treasurer's influence Earl John obtained the earldom of Sutherland 
and other lands in regality upon a false issue. Let Sir Robert 
speak : — 

"Alexander Elphingstoun being theasaurer of Scotland, John Earle of 
Sovvtherland, by his means, took a new infeftment of the whole earledome 
of Sotherland, by resignation thereof into his majestie's hands, in the suthr!,243. 
moneth of April 1601 yeirs ; not onlie confirming the old regalitie of the 
earldome of Sutherland, granted by King David Bruce to William, the 
third of that name, Earle of Southerland, the year 1347 [1345], hot also 
conteyning divers other privileges." 

The other privileges were, the lands of Strathnaver and the 
church-lands of the diocese of Caithness in regality, together with the 
hereditary sheriffship of Sutherland and Strathnaver. Sir Robert 
says that this charter of regality was a royal confirmation of the 
ancient charter of regality 'granted by King David Bruce to William, 
Earl of Sutherland. That it was so is further shown by the wording 
of the document in which the Earl of Sutherland afterwards, 1 July, 
1631, resigned the sheriffship of Sutherland, part of the gift, into the 
hands of King Charles I — it is printed in Dates and Documents etc. 
of Sutherland by Mr Loch. Having referred to the charter of 
regality granted by his father to the Earl of Sutherland, King Charles 
proceeds : — 

" Lykeas unrpihile David the Secund, His Majestie's predecessour of 
worthie memorie, be his Chartour and Infeftment of the dait at Lanerk, 
the tenth day of October, and seventene zeir of his reyne, gave granted 
and confirmet to umquhile Williame, Erie of Sutherland, and to his 
Majestie's sister Margaret, spous of the said Erie, and to thair airis, to be 


gotten betuix thame (of quhome the said Johne, now Erie of Sutherland, 
is lineallie discendit) the said Erldome of Sutherland in ane frie regalitie 
for ever." 

Thus the document of 1631, which is founded upon the document 
of 1601 conveying the regality, concludes that the Earl of Sutherland 
was a lineal descendent of the marriage of William of Sutherland and 
Margaret Bruce. It is very evident that King James VI. granted 
the 1601 charter of regality on the representation that the Sutherland 
family was descended of the marriage with Margaret Bruce, and 
under the impression that by so doing he was only confirming the 
charter of 1345. But we have already shown at page 46 that the 
only son of the Bruce marriage died childless, that the Sutherland 
family is not descended of that marriage, and that the charter of 1345 
became consequently null and void. Without a doubt the facts were 
misrepresented to the king. 

The question is who imposed upon King James through Treasurer 
suthr ?J 9 Elphingstone ? We suspect it was Sir Robert Gordon. Sir Robert 
had just finished his education at St. Andrew's University about this 
time, and his knowledge of history fitted him to piece together the 
historical argument which prevailed with the king. Sir Robert's 
nephew, the 1st Lord Reay, believed his uncle capable of forgery, and 
charged him with the same in a letter which we give in our 
Appendix No. 35. We have already abundantly proved that Sir 
Robert could lean considerably from the truth to serve a purpose ; 
and we would again draw our reader's attention to the quotation 
from Sir William Fraser which we gave at page 47. 

That there was a motive to perpetrate a fraud of this kind is 
evident. A charter in regality, which included the lands of Strath - 
naver and the church-lands of Caithness, would immensely 
strengthen the grip of the Sutherland family over these lands and 
especially over the kicking Mackay. Even this charter with its 
almost regal power left Sir Robert doubtful as to whether the 
Sutherland family could maintain its superiority over Mackay. So 


1601] anxious was he about the matter that he refers to it at large in his 

Farewell Letter of Advice to his nephew, the Earl of Sutherland. no?3& DIX 
Here was motive enough, in our opinion. Perhaps the very 
consciousness that he was the author of a fradulent story accounts for 
Sir Robert's persistent thumping of the drum, " Sutherland's feudal 
superiority over Mackay, from time immemorial." 

In the face of the facts which we have related, the Sutherland 
family has no reason to glory in its ill-gotten " superiority " over 
Mackay. From the time that Queen Mary conveyed Mackay 's lauds 
to Huntly in 1567, we see nothing creditable in the various 
transactions by which the superiority passed from hand to hand, until 
at last in 1G01 the king was induced by a falsehood to confirm it in 
regality to the house of Sutherland. 

The relations between Caithness, Sutherland, and Mackay 
continued so hostile for some years after the sack of Wick, that on 
the 25th July, 1595, the Privy Council bound the three over to keep 
the peace, and at the same time made Caithness find caution to the 
extent of 20,000 merks. Six years thereafter (1G01), the Earl of 
Caithness, on the plea of hunting in the Reay Forest, began to 
assemble such a force of armed men, that the suspicions of Mackay 
were aroused as to the pacific intentions of the excursion. Mackay, 
having despatched messengers to his allies, marched with his 
assembled troops towards Kinbrace, and took up a position between 
Lochan Gainvach and Loch Badinloch, thus barring Caithness' 
advance towards the forest. Speedily to Mackay 's aid came the 
Earl of Sutherland, Munro of Contalich, and Macleod of Assynt with 
such a force of men, that when Caithness made his appearance he 
found himself unexpectedly opposed by a considerable array. The 
two armies now manoeuvred for position, and in the evening it suthil 
looked as if there was going to be a big fight, but ere the morning 
the Caithncssmen, who had no stomach for such a mad enterprise, 
broke and fled without drawing a sword. To mark their bloodless 
triumph the Munros, Macleods, Sutherland, and Mackays raised a 

p. C. REG. 


heap of stones on the shoulder of Ben Griam and exultingly dubbed 
it Cam Teichidh, Cairn of Flight. Notwithstanding his galling 
discomfiture Caithness made a similar attempt in 1607, but with as 
little success. 
p c reg rv 3 ^ an ac * °^ me ^ 1- i v y Council, 31st January, 1602, the Earl of 
Sutherland and Huistean Du were called upon to raise a levy of 100 
men to assist Elizabeth, Queen of England, in putting down an Irish 
rebellion. In this revolt of the Earl of Tyronne and Red Hugh 
O'Donnell of Ulster, which had been in progress for some years, a 
few of the Hebridean chiefs took an active though not a glorious 
part ; and now King James, who had a good prospect of succeeding 
Elizabeth in the throne of England, extends his assistance to her. 

In 1608 Huistean Du and other mainland chiefs were called upon 
by the Privy Council to furnish aid to the king's officers in subduing 
the Lews, and in establishing the Fifeshire company of adventurers, 
to whom his Majesty had given certain grants of land in that island 
about 1598. On the 9th July missive letters are directed to the 
Earl of Caithness, Balnagown, Donald Neilson of Assint, Mackay of 
Strathnaver, and Fowlis, calling upon them to attend with their 
followers his Majesty's service at Troterness on the 20th August next. 
Their armed men must furnish themselves with powder and bullets 
out of their own pay, and not at the king's expense, but the 
Lieutenant of the Isles is to be allowed "10 stane of lead, with hint 
eff'eiring theirto." 

In order the more effectively to subdue the Lews, the 
superintendence of the opposite mainland was committed to the Earl 
of Argyle, the Marquis of Huntly, etc. ; and the headmen of the 
mainland opposite, Mackay among them, were charged by an order of 
Council not to reset rebellious islesmen within their bounds — the 
order was dated 8th February, 1609. A few weeks thereafter 
(26th March), the Privy Council proceed against Caithness, Mackay, 
etc., for not giving sufficient assistance to the Government in the 
Lews business — Caithness who was present found caution, but 




1600-13] Mackay who did not put in an appearance was denounced rebel. 
These harsh measures indicate the king's bitterness at the failure of 
his pet scheme in the Lews, but it does not seem that Huisteaii Du 
suffered much inconvenience thereby, for very shortly thereafter he 
appears in the record as in the full possession of his rights and 
liberties. Perhaps Mackay 's sympathy with the Macleods of the 
Lews may account for the following earlier entry in the Privy Council 
Register, 18th February, 1600. 

"Caution in 10,000 merks by Hutcheon Mackyo of Farr, as principall, 
and John Earl of Sutherland and Arthur Master of Forbes, fiar thereof, 
as sureties for the said principall, that he and his men shall keep the 
king's peace and redress parties skaithed, conform to the law." 

The marches between Sutherland and Strathnaver caused for a 
time friction, but in April, 1613, the questions in dispute were 
submitted to the arbitration of four mutual friends at a conference at 
Kildrumy, in Mar, to wit, Lord Elphingstone and Sir Robert 
Gordon on the one side, and Lord Forbes and William Forbes of 
Menie on the other, Sir Robert acting as umpire. Sir Robert tells us 
" it was a hard matter for him to beir himself evinlie in so friendlie 
and ticklish a case." We strongly suspect that he did not even try 
"to beir himself evinlie" on this occasion, if his Farewell Letter of 
Advice speaks truly, as we believe it does. 

In business and political transactions Huistean Du, like his father 
lye Du, maintained a familiar intercourse with the house of Forbes. 
As we saw, the Master of Forbes was his cautioner in 1600, and 
again in 1613 two Forbeses acted as his chosen arbiters. If to this 
we add that in various registered documents he styled himself 
"Mackay Forbes," the close connection becomes more evident. In 
1589 Mackay became a vassal of Sutherland, but by this addition to 
his surname he proclaimed to the world, as we think, his alliance as 
well as his kinship to Forbes. That he was contented in that 
inferior position is not for a moment to be entertained, regarding a 
man who fought so long for feudal freedom. The Sutherland yoke, 

No. 36. 


which was but of yesterday, was galling, and he probably hoped that 
with the assistance of the Forbeses his family might some day recover 
their feudal independence. We suspect that this was the reason for 
the surname " Mackay-Forbcs." 

Of his successor, Sir Donald, afterwards 1st Lord Reay, Sir Robert 
Gordon writes (1630) : — "Sir Donald McKy hath neither served nor 
doth intend to serve himself heir to his father or grandfather." The 
meaning of this is plain. Sir Donald, having gained some footing in 
the king's favour, refused to bind himself to Sutherland's superiority 
but as little as he could. He was in this respect the heir of his 
father's struggle. 

The failure of Huistean Du to reconcile the Aberach Mackays 
was a great misfortune to his cause. We are not in a position to 
allocate the blame, but we venture to think that when Huistean Du 
settled the lands of Scoury upon his elder brother, Donald Balloch, 
he ought to have settled the Aberach lands of Strathnaver upon Neil 
macEan macWilliam, the Aberach chieftain, and his father's cousin. 
Not only were the Aberachs strong to fight his battles, but in former 
generations were the stay of his father's house on many a stricken field 
from Drum nan Coup downwards. The story of Huistean Du's life 
would take a different complexion with the Aberach Mackays at his 
back, and this he could have had by a timely grant of the lands which 
they looked upon as their own. 

As to the social and religious condition of Strathnaver at this 
period we cannot say much 1 . The Earl of Caithness was not a friend 
of the Reformation, neither was Alexr., Earl of Sutherland, who died 
in 1594, nor his successor, Earl John, who died in 1615. These 

1 In 1609 what are known as the " Statues of Icolumkill" were agreed to by the Hebvklean 
chieftains in response to a royal overture. The nine clauses, which cast much light upon the 
social condition of the north and especially of the Isles, may be condensed as follows:— (1) 
Churches were to be repaired, and handfast marriages were declared illegal ; (2) inns were to be 
set up for the accomodation of travellers ; (3) masterless vagabonds were to be cleared out of the 
islands ; (4) sorners [sej&urners, such as commandeered free-quarters] were to be dealt with as 
thieves and oppressors ; (5) the importation of wine and whiskey was forbidden, in consequence of 
excessive drinking ; (6) every head-man was to send his eldest son to school in the south in order 
that he might learn to speak English ; (7) the carrying of tire-arms was proscribed ; (S) bards were 
to be placed in the stocks, and thereafter to be expelled from the islands ; (9) every chief to have 
power to apprehend such as broke the Icolumkill Statues :—Prii<y Council Register, Vol. IX., 24ff. 


1614] three earls were at different times warded or compelled to find 

caution in consequence of their religious views, as the Privy Council 
Register shows. But we have not come across any entry in which 
Huistean Du is so dealt with. We conclude that Huistean 
sympathised with the Protestant faith, like his father and like his 
friend Lord Forbes. Further we cannot go, save to remark that his 
initials with date are cut on the old church at Durness. This we 
take to mean that he built it, for he resided at Balnakicl for the most 

Huistean Du, who died at Tongue, 2nd September, 1614, was 
twice married. By his first wife, whom he divorced, Lady Elizabeth 
Sinclair, daughter of George, 4th Earl of Caithness, he had one 
daughter, Christina, who married John Macintosh of Dalzell, son of BLK Ms 
Macintosh of Macintosh. Huistean Du married, secondly, Lady 
Jane Gordon, eldest daughter of Alexr., Earl of Sutherland, and by 
her had two sons and two daughters : — 

i. Donald, 1st Lord Beay, of whom follows. 

ii. John, progenitor of the Strathy Mackays, and whose issue is 
given elsewhere. 

Hi. Annas, who married John Sinclair of Brims, Caithness, 29th 
December, 1618. They both had Sas. on a contract of wadset 
of the lands of Eibigill, 14th February, 1657. John Sinclair 
died before 16th August, 1666, and was survived by Annas, as 
the Reay Papers show. They had known issue Captain John 
Sinclair of Brims, progenitor of the Ulbster Sinclairs, who was 
retoured son and heir of his deceased father, John, and 
resigned the wadset of Ribigill 13th March, 1702. An Annas 
Sinclair, whom we take to have been a daughter of Captain 
John, married Angus Mackay of Eibigill, son of Donald of 
Borley, and grandson of Donald Balluch of Scoury, as is shown 
in our account of the Scoury Mackays. 

iv. Mary, married Hector Munro, brother and successor of Colonel 
Robert Munro of Fowlis. Hector, who joined Lord Eeay's 
regiment, became a colonel, and was created a bart., 7th June, Douglas' 
1634. He died at Hamburgh, 1635, leaving a son, Sir Hector, Baronage, r. su 
who died without issue, and three dans. 



Dame Mary Mackay, Lady Fowlis, married, secondly, her 
cousin, Alexr Gunn of Killearnan, Chief 1 of Gunn, son of 
William and grandson of Alexr. Gunn of Killearnan, the latter 
having married her aunt, as has already been shown. Dame 
Mary bore to Alexr. Gunn a son and a daughter, viz., John and 
Catherine, the latter of whom married her cousin, Lieut.-Col. the 
Hon. Angus Mackay of Melness, progenitor of the Melness 

1. DESCENT OF THE MACHA.MISH GUNNS. The Crowner had a son James, who had a 
son William, who had a son David, who had a son Alexander. The latter Alexr. married Barbara, 
daughter of lye Du Mackay, and by her had William, whose son Alexr. married Dame Mary 
Mackay, daughter of Huistean Du, and by her had John Gunn of Killearnan. " Alexr. Gunn 
apparent of Killearnan " (Elk. MS.) witnessed a sasine, 4th August, 1676, and married Christina, 
daughter of the 1st Lord Reay, before 1668 (The Gunns). Probably John and Alexr. were brothers, 
and the former predeceased the latter, without issue. Alexr., who married the Hon. 
Christina Mackay, had by her three sons : Alexr. of Badinloch : George of Corrish ; and Cap. Gunn, 
who died in Holland. The two sons of Alexr. of Badinloch, who were both soldiers, died without 
issue, and the MacHamish line reverts to George of Corrish, whose sons may be seen in the list of 
men capable of bearing arms in Kildonan in the '45, preserved in Dunrobin Castle. According to 
the Revd. Alexr. Gunn. Watten, an authority on Gunn history, the descent from Corrish was as 
follows : George of Corrish had a son Alexr., whose son William, whose son Alexr. of Backlass was 
the father of William Gunn, now for many years manager of the Spittal Works, Watten. As far 
as we have found evidence, it has gone to confirm the contention of the Revd. Alexr. Gunn. 

XIV. ponctU), Xsf £ovb ~glea%. 


^■KLLAN CAMERON of Lochiel, the recognised head of his clau 
<y since 1585, got into much trouble in consequence of the claims 
of superiority over him made by the rival houses of Argyle and 
Huntly. To begin with, he was a vassal of Huntly ; but as Argyle 
furbished up some old writs of superiority, Allan transferred his 
allegiance to the latter house much to the chagrin of the Gordons, 
who endeavoured to punish Lochiel by stirring up a section of his 
clansmen against him. Allan by stratagem induced the disaffected 
Camerons to attack himself, and by an ambuscade completely over- 
threw them. Huntly then raised a hue and cry as the jealous 
guardian of order, brought the matter before the Privy Council and 
got Cameron denounced rebel and murderer, 1 with the usual 
consequences. On the 10th February, 1610, the Privy Council issued 
a commission to Lord Lovat, Mackenzie of Gairloch, Mackenzie of 
Kintail, Mackay of Farr, etc., for the apprehension of Allan, so that 
the heather was fairly alit on the Braes of Lochaber. In the ensuing 
operations Donald Mackay took some part. Both he and Sir Robert 
Gordon with 300 well appointed men proceeded as far as the town of Earld . ov 
Inverness in August, 1612; and again on the 9th December, 1613, a 
levy of Gordons and Mackays were summoned from the north by 
order of the Council to pursue Allan Cameron. In the second p - & Reg 
expedition Gordon of Embo and Donald Mackay marched with over 

1. For further particulars see the Introduction to the Privy Council Register, Vol. X. 



450 men into the heart of Lochaber to co-operate with other troops, 
as Sir Robert Gordon informs us. But resourceful Allan managed to 
hold his own with the help of Argyle. 

Meantime Donald was called upon to bear a hand in an affair 
nearer home. Sir Robert Gordon represented to the king that Arthur 
Smith, a native of Banff, was forging false coin in Thurso under the 
patronage of the Earl of Caithness. What truth there was in Sir 
Robert's story we cannot say, but that he sought the ruin of Caithness 
is evident from after events. Anyway, Sir Robert obtained a 
commission to apprehend Smith and prudently passed it on for 
execution to his nephew, Donald Mackay. In May, 1612, Mackay 
and Gordon, younger of Embo, with a considerable following 
proceeded to Thurso, where they apprehended Smith after a stubborn 
fight with the townspeople in which John Sinclair of Stirkoke, 
earld. of nephew of the Earl of Caithness, was killed and others wounded. So 

*iJ I IT IT R_ 

fiercely were they assailed, that the Mackays slew Smith in the' 
outskirts of the town lest he should be rescued by the Sinclairs. 

As the slaughter of Stirkoke had already resulted in a legal 
process and might provoke sterner reprisals on the part of the 
Sinclairs, Sir Robert Gordon induced King James, as he says himself, 
to grant a remission under the Great Seal, 13th January, 1614, to 
Donald Mackay and others for the bloodshed at Thurso, and in this 
manner got to windward of the Caitlmessmen. At the same 
time, this new estrangement of the Sinclairs and Mackays suited his 
policy admirably. The remission, which we give in our Appendix 
No. 29, shows that there were two pipers of the party, and it may be 
of interest to observe that one of them was a Macrimmon, a member 
of the famous family of Skye pipers. 

About this time Lord Forbes took possession of the lands of 
Dunbeath, Reay, Sandside, etc., which were bequeathed to him by 
his deceased brother-in-law, George Sinclair, and incurred in 
consequence the hostility of the Earl of Caithness, who considered he 
had a better right to these lauds himself. The quarrels which 


1615] speedily followed ranged the Earl of Sutherland, Lord Forbes, and 

Mackay in opposition to the Earl of Caithness, and sent the whole 
four up to Edinburgh for legal arbitrament. During the conflict 
before the Council, the Earl of Caithness produced William Kemp, 
burgess of Edinburgh, 24th March, 1615, to testify to a plot against 
him, and his evidence was as follows : — 

"Deponis that he came yisternight to the Erll of Caithness & 
desyrit him to tak heade to him self, for thair was people in this toun 
that bore him no goode will & were his unfriendis. Deponis he reveillit 
this to the Erll of Caithness upoun this occasion : to witt, that yisterday, 
aboute foure of the cloke in the afternoone, he being in his awne house, 
he hard three gentlemen who were in the nixt house, and ane wall of 
mud onlie betwix them, speeke amangis thame salffis in thair drinking 
that the Erll of Caithness had done a ruffle to McKy, and it might be 
that he sould rew that dayis labour ; and the depouner knawis not the 
men, bot has seen thame in company with the Erll of Sutherland, the 
Lord Forbes, and McKay in thair going up and dounn the streit." 

Caithness made nothing of it by his journey to Edinburgh, but 
this need not imply that he was wholly in the wrong, for the Privy 
Council of that period was a most corrupt body, appointed by the 
king to execute his autocratic will, 1 and often did so at the expense 
of justice. 

As the Earl of Sutherland died in the autumn of 1615, leaving an 
elder son John, six years of age, Sir Robert Gordon became tutor or 
governor for his young nephew, and acquired considerable power 
throughout the diocese of Caithness during the following fifteen years. 
Towards the close of the year 1615, Lord Forbes' corn-yard at 
Sandside was set on fire and burnt to the ground. Suspicion at once 
fixed upon the Earl of Caithness as the instigator of the arson, and 
confessions were made by some Gunns that they were incited to do 
the deed by his Lordship. But it is not at all certain that Caithness 
was guilty. The Gunns hated him for his late betraj'al of their clan, 

1. Since the union of the Crowns, King -James practically governed Scotland through the 
members of the Privy Council, his own nominees, reducing Parliament to a cipher, and establish- 
ing a tyranny which bore such direful fruit during his son's reign, when the people rose up to 
claim their own : — Hume Brown's Scotland. 

P. C. Reg. 


and may have sought revenge in this fashion. But guilty or not, it 
practically ruined him. 

The astute Sir Robert Gordon, who shows himself that he had 
much influence with King James, got mixed up in the affair, and so 
hunted Caithness from pillar to post that he became a fit object of 
pity to his bitterest enemies. Caithness was reduced to bankruptcy, 
put to the horn, and denounced rebel, while his elder son, Lord 
Berriedale, was flung into an Edinburgh prison where he lay for five 
years. The tale of prosecution against the fallen Caithness recorded 
in the Privy Council Register and in the Earldom of Sutherland is 
very cruel, and there is no doubt that in this matter Donald Mackay 
suffered himself to become too much the accomplice of his uncle, 
Sir Robert. 

Towards the close of spring, 1616, Sir Robert, Donald Mackay, 
Lord Forbes, etc., proceeded to Edinburgh in connection with the 
prosecution of the Earl of Caithness, and having set the machinery of 
the law in motion, such as it was, Sir Robert and Mackay went up to 
London where the latter was knighted, as Sir Donald Mackay of 
Strathnaver. Sir Donald returned north by way of Fife and 
accompanied by Lady Mary Lindsay, sister of Lord Crawford, 
reached Durness by boat about the middle of August. Lady 
p. c. Reg. xi. Lindsay's trip to Durness was the occasion of just resentment on the 
part of Sir Donald's wife, Lady Mackay, as the Privy Council 
Register shows. 

From about this time Mackay sheered off more and more from his 
uncle, Sir Robert. He came to see that Sir Robert's plan was to 
crush Caithness with one hand and to destroy himself with the other. 
As far as the house of Mackay was concerned, Sir Robert's policy 
was, as enunciated by himself in his Advice to his nephew of 
Sutherland, "use Mackay rather as your vassal than as your 
companion ; and because they are usually proud and arrogant, let 
them know that you are their superior. Let Mackay his pincell 
[banner] never be displayed when yours is." The advice was foolish ; 


1618-22] and small wonder if the man who received the counsel and acted 
upon it brought heaps of trouble upon himself, as the future will 
show. There lay in this policy two generations of strife, during 
which both families were brought to the verge of ruin, because the 
one family was just as proud as the other. 

The erratic Earl of Caithness in his accumulating distresses 
stretched out his hands towards Mackay, his late enemy but the 
natural ally of his house, and in April, 1618, Sir Donald paid a visit 
to the earl at Brawl Castle, when there was delivered to him "some 
old writs of certane lands in Strathnaver and other places within the 
dyacie of Catteyness, appertayning to some of Sir Donald his earld. of 

. , . , , . . . SUTHK. P. 351. 

predicessors." Evidently these writs came into the possession of the 
earl's grandfather when Huistean Du Mackay was his ward, and 
probably many valuable documents belonging to the Mackays were 
lost at that troublous period. The information which Sir Donald got 
in these old writs would naturally increase his estrangement from the 
house of Sutherland, and make him more determined than ever to 
stand on his guard. 

It will be remembered that on two previous occasions the Earl of 
Caithness attempted what was expected to have a warlike object 
under the guise of a hunting expedition. The earl seems to have had 
as much faith in a hunting expedition as Mr. Weller, senior, had in 
an alibi, for on the 22nd June, 1619, the Privy Council, at the 
instigation of Sir Robert Gordon, inhibited the Earl of Caithness and 
Sir Donald Mackay from making snch an expedition in Sutherland, 
as it was believed they meant mischief. Two years after this p - c - REG - XI - 
(August, 1621), Mackay refused to meet his uncle at Elgin for a 
settlement of their disputes, but in May of the following year they 
had a meeting at Tain, and entered into an argument regarding the 
marches between Strathnaver and Sutherland. 

During these years Sir Robert Gordon was very much at Court 
and a prime favourite there, as he takes good care to inform his 
readers. On the 25th May, 1621, the king advised the Privy Council 



to grant Sir Robert a commission of Fire and Sword against the Earl 
of Caithness, but he did not move forthwith although the commission 
was offered to him. To smite Caithness was of his own seeking, but 
he wanted to do it in a way of his own. After conference with the 
king upon the point (June, 1623), Sir Robert appeared before the 
Council and got them to insert in the commission the names of Sir 
Donald Mackay, Sir Alexr. Gordon, and James Sinclair of Murkle, 
along with his own. At the same time, letters were issued 
commanding the inhabitants of Ross, Sutherland, Strathnaver and 
Orkney to assist Sir Robert in the execution of his task. To insert 
the name of Mackay in a commission of Fire and Sword against the 
Earl of Caithness, now his friend, was a clever move, and more was 
to follow. In order to eliminate all hazard of firing a shot, Sir 
p. c. reg. Robert got the Privy Council to make it criminal for Caithnessmen to 
carry or use fire-arms, 29th July, 1623. 

Having carefully removed every element of danger out of the way, 
Sir Robert set out for Caithness in September, and marched from 
victory to victory receiving the keys of no less than three castles, as 
lie tells us in most grandiloquent language. Sir Robert did not 
catch his man ; but what of that, he swept every thing before him ! 
And such was the terror of his name that not a hostile shot was fired 
in all Caithness ! But remember, good reader, the Caithnessmen 
were disarmed before Sir Robert ventured to cross the Ord, and were 
consequently not in a position to lift a musket. Although his name 
was in the commission, Sir Donald took no part in the inglorious 
campaign. He only appeared in Wick when all was over, to be told 
by the pseudo-hero that his services were not now required. 

On the 20th August, 1623, "Sir Donald McKay of Strathnaver " 
was appointed by the Privy Council a Justice of the Peace for 
Sutherland and Strathnaver, and on the 11th November of the same 
year the inhabitants of Strathnaver petitioned the Council through 
Sir Donald to be exempted from the prohibition to carry fire-arms, 
which had lately been passed against the inhabitants of the diocese of 


1624-6] Caithness. About this time Sir Donald began to add largely to his vouxni!'' 
landed estate. In 1624 he bought the lands of Reay, Sandside, etc. 
from Lord Forbes, the Little Isles of Strathnaver, formerly pertaining 
to Farquhar, the physician, from William Macallan on the 6th October, £ T PP ?J' DIX 
and on the 7th April, 1625, he purchased the 27 merklands of 
Moidart and the 24 merklands of Arisaig from John McRonald, Chief EEG . Mag , Sig . 
of Clan Ronald. But in order to raise money for his Continental 
military expedition, he had to sell the lands of Moidart and Arisaig to 
Colin, Earl of Seaforth, towards the close of the year 1626. 

The great Thirty Years' War, in which Frederick, Elector 
Palatine, son-in-law of James VI, took such a prominent part on the 
Protestant side, was raging on the Continent. It eventually developed 
into a European war of Protestant versus Catholic States, and found 
many active English participants who drew the sword partly out of 
sympathy with the king's son-in-law, and partly out of sympathy with 
their co-religionists abroad. Sir Donald Mackay heard the brazen 
blare of the war-trumpet in distant Strathnaver, saw an opportunity 
of taking part in the struggle, and found himself overmastered by the 
fighting instincts of his race. So far as Ave can gather, Sir Donald 
was not strongly religious, but he was warlike and ambitious. 
Though not over rich it was not the want of money that drove him 
abroad, for there was no money in the cause when he espoused it, and 
certain it is that he did not increase his wealth thereby. The ill- 
gotten charter of regality by which Sir Robert Gordon governed the 
north so circumscribed Mackay's energies at home, that he felt 
constrained to lure Dame Fortune in a wider field abroad by the offer 
of his sword. In pursuance of this object, he sought liberty from 
King Charles I. to raise a regiment for the assistance of Count 
Mansfelt, then in the field supporting the Elector. The crave had an 
immediate response. 

" The Privy Council granted a commission in virtue of warrant from 
his Majesty of date 3rd March (1626), empowering Sir Donald of 
Strathnaver to levy a regiment of 2000 men anywhere in Scotland and 



P. C. Reg., i., 
ii., p. xlix. 


Earld. of 

SUTHR. P. 404. 

transport them to the Continent for service under Count Mansfelt. 

The Council on the same day addressed a circular letter 

to a number of lairds in the Highlands representing that, as they had 
many idle men within their bounds, they could not do better than urge 
all such to enlist under Sir Donald and his captains, so that they might 
be trained in military discipline, and be creditably employed on good 
wages abroad, instead of loitering uselessly at home." 

In raising his regiment Sir Donald wisely adopted the plan of 
getting young adventurous men of good families to earn a com- 
missoned rank by securing so many recruits. The response was 
unparalleled in our country, so far as we know. Before the 15th 
May, or in a little over nine weeks, 3600 troops officered by 
the cream 1 of Scotland's fighting men, Highland and Lowland, were 
ready for the lagging transports. The bulk of the rank and file were 
" bonny men " from the glens and islands, with a sprinkling of 
broken-men, 2 sorners, etc., who with such a backbone made a 
splendid fighting machine. Probably a hardier lot never left our 
rugged shores for war's gory field, and we are not surprised to learn 
that they carved for themselves the proud title of "The Scottish 
Invincibles," in consequence of their prowess under the great 
Gustavus Adolphus. 

Although Mackay's regiment was ready for embarkation before 
the 15th May, for lack of transports they were not able to sail from 
Cromarty until the 6th October. Meantime "Mackay seikned and 
hardly escaped," and the troops had to depart without him. But 
Mackay embarked at Leith on the 18th January following, and 
joined his regiment in Holstein, towards the end of March, where 
it lay in winter quarters. As Christian IV, King of Denmark, uncle 

1. ''There were (at the least) thirty of that regiment, which went out of Scotland with Lord 
Reay, who came to be colonels, lieutenant-colonels, and seargent-majors ; a rare thing, the like 
whereof hath not bin seen" : — Earld. of Suthd., p. 450. 

2. It was this fact that gave rise to the Gaelic couplet : — 

" Na h-uile fear a theid a dhollaidh 
Gheibh e dolar o MhacAoidh." 

Every one that is down in his luck 
Shall get a dollar from Mackay. 


1627] of Charles I., had by this time joined in a Protestant alliance of 

Britain, the Dutch States, and Denmark to oppose the Austrian 
Imperialists, Mackay took service under the Dane and forthwith had 
his men sworn in. 

The Mackays had their first bloody baptism towards the end of 
July, at Boitzenburg, on the Elbe, where four companies under Major 
Dunbar, left to guard the town, were assailed by Tilly with about 
10,000 men. Thrice did the Imperialists rush to the assault but they 
were as often driven back with great gallantry, and at last had to 
retire with the loss of over 1000 men. As Dunbar's four companies 
only numbered 800 altogether, they gave a very good account of 
themselves in their first tussle. 1 

Their next great exploit was at the Pass of Oldenburg, which Sir 
Donald was instructed to hold at all hazard, in order to enable the 
Duke of Wiemar to embark his troops at Heiligenhafn. From 
daybreak to sunset of a late October day, Mackay held the pass with 
his men against an overwhelming host under Tilly. Torn and stung 
by shot and ball, they clung to the position with a heroic tenacity 
which defied the indomitable Tilly. As may be imagined their losses 
were very heavy. Sir Donald himself was severely wounded by the 
explosion of a barrel of gunpowder, but he grimly stuck to his post ; 
while Sir Patrick McKie of Largs and other officers had to be carried 
off the field. When the regiment went into winter quarters shortly 
after this, of the 3600 men who had embarked at Cromarty, only a 
twelvemonth before, but 800 whole and about 150 maimed survived. 
In other words, in a four months' campaign they lost three-fourths of 
their number. Truly the glory of war is bought at a great price ! 

As the regiment was in such a reduced state, Sir Donald started 
for Scotland soon afterwards accompanied by special officers to beat 
up new recruits ; but we imagine he had some difficulty in getting the 
requisite number. Since the embodiment of Mackay's regiment ?• <j[- ^g-^i-, 

1. The interested reader, who desires a more detailed account of the exploits of this regiment, 
should consult Munro his expedition itith the worthy Scots regiment, called Mac-Keyes regiment 
(published 1637), and An old Scots Brigade (published 1885). 



No. 34. 

P. C. Reg., 
i., p. cm. 


Old Scots 
Brigade, p. 321, 

Scotland had been denuded of her fighting men, for she had sent 
abroad about 10,000 soldiers, 1 very few of whom ever returned. In 
the circumstances he took some time to raise his levy, and practically 
drained Strathnaver of its able-bodied men. 

While recruiting at home Mackay proceeded to Loudon where, 
on the 19th January, he obtained from King Charles I. a charter 
under the Great Seal of the lands of Reay, Sandside, Davochow, 
Borlum, Easald, Achatrescar, Auchamerland, and Showarie, as 
resigned by Alexander, Lord Forbes, some time previously, and now 
created into a barony burgh with various privileges, one of which was 
four annual fairs 2 at Reay. About the same time Sir Donald was 
created Lord Reay as a reward for his valuable services to the Danish 
king in the German war — the Patent of Nobility was issued 20th 
June, 1628. His proper and natural title was Lord Strathnaver, but 
the Sutherland family picked that up in 1588, when they secured the 
superiority of Strathnaver from the king. At an earlier date, 18th 
May, 1627, Sir Donald was made a Bart, of Nova Scotia, being 
abroad at the time. 

Towards the close of the summer of 1628, Lord Reay set out with 
a levy of 1000 men and joined his regiment at Copenhagen ; but the 
struggles of the Danish king were nearly at an end for the present, 
and his place was soon taken by an abler man, Gustavus Adolphus, 
King of Sweden, who stepped into the field as the champion of the 
Protestant cause. Reay took service with the Swedish king, and 
with the latter's commission, 17th June, 1629, returned to Scotland 
for more men. He was back in Denmark before the New Year, 
proceeded to Sweden in February, 1730, and thence passed over with 
his regiment to Germany, where he took part in the capture of 

1. On the 8th March, 1627, the Privy Council granted a commission to James Sinclair of 
Murkle to levy a regiment of 3000 men for service under the King of Denmark. Lord Speynie was 
also empowered by a special act to press into his own regiment all "strong, able, and counterfeit 
limmars, callit Gypsies," all sturdy beggars and vagabonds, masterless men and idle loiterers of 
other denominations, and also deserters from Colonel Mackay's former levy that may be found 
fugitive throughout the country: — P.C. Register, Vol. I., ii. Series. 

2. The fairs were : — 11 August, Sanct-Reanes fair for four days ; 20 October, Sanct-Gedes fair 
for three days ; 11 December, Sanct-Kellenes fair for three days ; and S March, Sanct-Comes fair 
for three days :— Jleg. Hag. Sig. 


From the Blackcastle MSS. 


1631] Stettin, Damm, Colberg, etc. — the capture of the latter town was a 

very stiff affair in which his Lordship distinguished himself. As soon 
as the army went into winter quarters, after a very arduous campaign 
in which Lord Reay's men won great renown, his Lordship once 
more returned to Scotland for more men. In a great war it is always 
men, more men ! 

Proudly did Mackay return to his native shores fresh from the 
scene of his military triumphs, but " slippery is the step at the great 
man's door," as the Gaelic proverb hath it. Ou a missive from 
Charles I., 5th May, 1631, the Privy Council granted warrant (2nd 
Juue) to Lord Reay to raise 2000 men for service with Gustavus. p - c-.eeg., 
About the same time he was authorised by the King of Sweden to 
arrange with James, 3rd Marquis of Hamilton, as to the terms on 
which the latter would agree to raise 6000 men for service in hist. slss. 
Germany. The Marquis agreed, and soon Lord Reay and Hamilton's report. 
lieutenant, Ramsay, were busily engaged levying the troops ; which 
when they had done, his Lordship proceeded to London to thank the 
king for his aid to Hamilton, and requesting the loan of transports for 
the troops. 

In an unguarded moment, Lord Reay confidentially told Lord 
Ochiltree, the hereditary enemy of the house of Hamilton, that the 
marquis intended to use the troops for treasonable purposes, as 
Ramsay had informed him. That the house of Hamilton often 
plotted against the Crown is a well known fact. Anyway, Ochiltree 
blazed the story abroad to the consternation of not a few ; Ramsay 
was called up to London and denied the charge, then Lord Reay 
challenged him to the proof of combat. A High Court of Chivalry 
was formed, 20th November, 1631, to enquire into the matter, and 
the 12th April following was fixed as the day of combat. The 
combat, however, never took place, for the king interfered and sent 
both Ramsay and Reay to the Tower, in order to preserve the peace. 
" The matter here refered to," says Professor Hume Brown, " is one 
of the many mysteries to be found in Scottish history 



P. C. Reg., iv. 
ii., xliii. 


Cat,. State 
Pap., Dom. S., 

Whether from policy or from conviction of Hamilton's innocence, 
Charles consistently acted as if all were well." 

This incident was disastrous to Reay. While his regiment was 
abroad gaining increased renown under Gustavus, he had to stay in 
London because of this miserable business ; and before the matter was 
settled the King of Sweden fell gloriously at Lutzen, and Reay was 
never repaid the vast sums of money he had borrowed to raise men 
for the German wars. Nay more, King Charles owed him £3000 
which also he never received. Realizing his critical financial 
position, he denuded himself of his estate in favour of his son 
John, Master of Reay, 7th September, 1637, in order to protect the 
family interest in the storm which he saw looming. 

A woman is said to be mixed up in most things, and that was the 
case in this instance. A Mrs. Rachel Wiuterfield, or Herison, claimed 
the adherence of Lord Reay, who, she asserted, was her husband. 
His Lordship, says Gordon of Sallagh, obtained a decree of nulity of 
marriage against her on the plea that her former husband was alive 
when she married him. We do not think they were ever married, 
and ground that opinion on the following. In a letter from his 
Lordship to Secretary Dorchester, 18th July, 1631, he says, "the 
warrand for apprehending that woman who calls herself the writer's 
wife has expired. He has got intelligence where she lives ; prays him 
to write to the Attorney-General to give out another warrand." 
Dorchester replies, 10 August, " the writer's secretary will have 
given Lord Reay a letter to the Attorney-General about a search after 
the woman mentioned by him." These documents seem to show that 
he prosecuted her for making a claim which he absolutely denied, and 
there is not a word about nullity of marriage. Anyway, wehn Reay's 
back was to the wall she caused him much trouble and expense, at 
the instigation of enemies, as we surmise. 

In 1637, when King Charles was goading the Presbyterians of 
Scotland into revolt, the Marquis of Hamilton, who never forgave 
Mackay, had supreme power in Scotland, and Sir Robert Gordon was 


1637] a member of the Privy Council. The lady appeared before the 

Council, where " William Innes of Sandside did appear for him," i.e. 
for Lord Reay. 

But "the stream of the secret council was so bent against him, 
having formerly irritated most of them in the Marquis of Hamilton's 
business, by making them accessory therto, that the sentence went Gordon of 
against him on her side without delay. He was ordained to give her two SALLAGH - 
thousand pounds sterling for her by-past maintenance during the suit, 
and three hundred pounds sterling yearly for her maintenance during his 

This was a crushing fine spitefully imposed upon a man who was 
known to be financially wrecked already ; and it was very much the 
work of his unscrupulous uncle, Sir Robert Gordon, who had the appendix 

. . NO. 35. 

meanness to forge documents in order to secure this monstrous 
verdict. The motive is evident. It was to compel Mackay to sell 
the lands along the river Naver, for which the Gordons were 
hungering, but it did not succeed. To pay the expense, Mackay sold 
the lands of Reay, Sandside, etc., to William Innes, who obtained a 
charter of them under the Great Seal that year. REG JlACt gIG 

How it fared with Lord Reay during 1632-37 we cannot say — the 
Privy Council Register covering that period has not yet been 
published— but that a man of- his active disposition and military 
prepossessions could remain idly at home in such a stirring time on 
the Continent is not likely. He had a commission from the Council 
to apprehend sorners etc., 6th March, 1634, a common method of 
raising recruits at that time, and in the letter of 1637 to Sir 
Alexander Gordon he speaks of " my company," indicating a military appendix 
connection then existing. The probability is that he served abroad 
in the German wars during a portion of the above mentioned period, 
although we have no record of his achievements. 

The imposition of Laud's Liturgy upon the Kirk, in 1637, raised a 
violent storm of resentment against the king throughout Scotland, in 
which the nobles joined the commons. What really alienated many 
of the nobles from King Charles was the Act of Revocation, passed f c ™o,ii ROWXS 



some years earlier, annexing to the Crown all the Church lands which 
fell into the hands of the barons at the Reformation. Not a few of 
the nobles signed the National Covenant in 1638 to settle a score 
with the monarch who dared to alienate from them Church lands to 
which they had no moral right, and not because they were enthusi- 
astically anti-Prelatists. As the Act of Revocation got the Earl of 
Sutherland into a considerable amount of difficulty over the Church 
lands of Caithness, it is probable that it helped to make him a 
Covenanter ! 

Lord Reay does not seem to have been in much sympathy with 

the National Covenant although he signed it at Inverness, 26th April, 

Spalding 1638, at a convocation of the northern burghs assembled for that 

Memorials,!., 87. . . 

purpose. Many other Royalists were in a similar plight ; they had to 
sign to save their face. 1 In all civil wars it is generally the same ; but 

Gordon's scots fr° ni tne vei 7 beginning Reay was reported to be on the king's side. 
fairs, i„ 6i. jj un fly was the king's leading supporter in the north, with whom 
Lord Reay communicated secretly and to whom he sent his elder son 
John, Master of Reay. In April, 1639, a ship laden with arms and 
ammunition for Lord Reay, and bound for Strathnaver, was driven 
into Peterhead by stress of weather and captured by the Covenanters. 
This ruined Reay's scheme of a Royalist rising in the far north, where 
the Mackenzies and the Sinclairs would have joined him. That same 
month, Montrose by a ruse captured Huntly, the Master of Reay, and 
others, in Aberdeen, and carried them prisoners to Edinburgh, where 

Gordon oi the Master of Reay was released upon signing the Covenant, and 
returned immediately to Strathnaver. 

The Covenanter forces to the north of Spey were put under the 
command of Seaforth, who marched into Moray with about 4000 
men, among whom were Reay and the Master of Reay " with the 
chois men of Strathnaver," about the middle of summer. At 

1, Seaforth obtained a high command from the northern Covenanters, but he changed sides 
and was cast into prison. Again he became a Covenanter, and sometime thereafter had to appear 
in sackcloth before the Kirk at Edinburgh. So too with Montrose, who first fought for the 
Covenanters and then became their scourge. 


1639-44] Chanonrie in the Black Isle, 7th June, 1639, Seaforth and Reay 
joined in a secret bond of friendship which is thoroughly Royalist. 
Its avowed purport was " the advancement of Religion, the king's appendix 
Majesties service, and the keeping of peace." Nominally they were 
officers holding rank in a Covenanting army, but at heart aud in their 
secret councils they were Royalists. Naturally they did nothing but 
mark time till the peace at Berwick disbanded the northern army. 

Next year war broke out again, Colonel Robert Munro was 
appointed Commander of the northern Covenanter forces, Seaforth 
aud Reay were called up to Edinburgh, and by order of the Tables 
committed to two months' free ward on suspicion of being hostile to Gordon op 
the cause. Warded in Edinburgh, Seaforth and Reay were prevented 
from dividing the council of those who in the north supported the 
Covenant. During the two following years Reay abode at home, and 
does not seem to have taken any active part in the struggle, probably 
through lack of opportunity. 

In 1643 hostilities were resumed between the king and the 
Covenanters, the Earl of Sutherland was appointed Colonel of the 
horse and foot in Sutherland; and on the 17th July, Reay embarked spalding 
at Aberdeen for Denmark, where he remained for some time in 259!™' 
command of his son's (Colonel Angus) regiment. While thus 
engaged, Reay was in correspondence with King Charles and making 
strenuous preparations to come to his assistance. Early in 1644, Reay 
left Denmark with some ships laden with arms and treasure, to the 
value of about £20,000 Scots, and reached Newcastle shortly before 
it was invested by the Scots army. 

Reay found Lord Crawford in command at Newcastle, and 
the two with much vigour applied themselves to the scientific 
fortification of the town. The siege, which began in February, 
proved a most obstinate one. Although a large and highly trained 
army under the veteran General Leslie hammered away at the town, 
it continued to hold out until 14th October, so gallantly was it 



Distemper, p. 
60 and 118. 

" After the battell of Yorke, the Scotes Covenanters had all the 
north of England at their pleasure, only Newcastle stood for the king, 
which the lord Crawford and the lord Ilea, both Scotes men, defended 

valiantlie, while generall Lesly besieged it 

These two had keipt it out beyond all expectation, with much currage 
and resolution, as their enemies did much admire and praise ther 

Hill Burton's 




Eecords of 

Not till Leslie breached the walls of Newcastle with exploding 
mines, and shattered its fortifications, could he call the town his own. 
The defence of Newcastle was the most brilliant military exploit of 
the Royalists during the Civil war, for the dashing victories of 
Montrose were but rapid tumultuous Highland charges ; and the 
credit of it may justly be claimed for Lord Reay, whose military 
experience on the Continent made him the most capable general 
within its walls. After its fall, Reay and Crawford were sent 
prisoners to Edinburgh Castle where they lay till August, 1645, when 
Montrose gained his victory at Kilsyth. Meantime the Estates 
proscribed Reay and others, 18th June, 1644, and ten days thereafter 
excepted Reay and Himtly from a pardon which they granted to 
malignants ; but Lady Forbes interceded for Reay and her supplica- 
tion came before the court in 1645. It was Kilsyth, however, that 
hastened the authorities to set Mackay free. 

Mackay returned home and almost immediately found himself 
involved in a dispute with the Earl of Sutherland about lauds in the 
Naver Valley, but the points in dispute are difficult to expiscate. 
Gordon of Sallagh, continuator of the History of the Earldom of 
Sutherland, maintains that Reay sold the lauds along the Naver 
Valley to Sutherland in 1642, and Sutherland in his complaints to 
Parliament, whose ear he had as a Parliamentarian, claimed a right to 
these same lands. We find nothing in the Reay charter chests to 
indicate the substantiality of these claims, but much to the contrary. 
John Sutherland in Skelbo had sasiue on a charter of apprising from 
John, Lord Reay, of the lands of Kerrownashein, 8th January, 1652, 
and his heir, Alexr. Sutherland of Torbol, had a similar sasine from 


1646-9] the said lord of the said lands, 5th November, 1656. The lands of 
Kerrownashein were the Aberach lands in dispute, and they were not 
sold to the Earl of Sutherland but seized for debt by Sutherland of 
Skelbo, as the Sasine Register proves. We shall afterwards show 
that the superiority of these lands pertained to Mackay as late as 
1682, and consequently cannot understand on what ground the Earl 
of Sutherland is said to have purchased them in 1642. We observe 
that Sir William Fraser accepts Gordon of Sallagh's account, but we 
do not think that he was justified in doing so without further proof, 
in the light of what we have shown above. The probable explanation 
of the controversy is, that Sutherland was claiming the lands on 
behalf of his vassal of Torboll, and as Lieutenant of Sutherland. 

Gordon of Sallagh relates that the Aberach Mackays raided 
Gruids and spoiled Gray of Creich in August, 1646. This seems to 
be confirmed by a letter from Sutherland to Reay a little later, which 
appears in Vol. III. of The Sutherland Book. When the matter was 

reported to Parliament, it "stood fast to the Earl of Sutherland, as Gordon of 

1 Sallagh. 

for one who had stuke hard to them, and hade most advanced their 

affairs in the north of Scotland." In this partisan spirit the Estates, 

27th March, 1647, ordered 500 troops under competent officers to be records of 

set at the disposal of the Earl of Sutherland, to assist his own 

Highlanders in bringing Reay to book. With these levies Sutherland 

advanced to Ben Rosal, on the east border of Strathnaver, where he 

was met by Reay, and some terms of settlement made. 

The following year Lord Reay embarked at Thurso for Denmark, 
and died at Copenhagen in the spring of 1649. Such was the regard 
entertained for his Lordship by the King of Denmark, that a frigate ld scots 
was commissioned to carry his body to the Kyle of Tongue, and his 
remains are entombed in the family vault within the church at 
Kirkiboll. Of him it may be truly said, here sleeps a battered 

During the time of Donald, 1st Lord Reay, there is some evidence 
that the people of Strathnaver were growing in culture, rude as it 


was from our standpoint. More and more of the members of the 
leading families were learning to write, as their signatures to wadsets, 
sasines, etc., prove. Many may have learned to write while serving 
abroad as military officers, and some would certainly return home 
with a wider knowledge of the world. Religion in these parts owed 
much to the faithful labours of members of the Munro clan. The 
first Protestant minister of Farr was Robert Munro, who was 
translated from Durness after 1624, and was succeeded in Durness 
by a succession of Munros. In 1638 the Parish of Kintail (now 
Na39. DIX Tongue) was erected, 1 but there was a Protestant church there at a 
much earlier date, served by the minister at Durness, who was 
practically the chaplain of the Reay family. 

Lord Donald was thrice 2 married. His first wife was Barbara, 
whom he married in 1610, eldest daughter of Kenneth, 1st Lord 
Kintail, and sister of Colin and George, 1st and 2nd Earls of 
Seaforth. She bore him four sons and two daughter : — 
i. lye, died 1617. 

ii. John, succeeded as 2nd Lord Reay, and of whom follows. 

Hi. Hew, died unmarried before 1642. 

iv. Lieut -Col. Angus, progenitor of the Melness Mackays, of whom 
see in their genealogy afterwards. 

v. Jane, married Wm. Mackay III. of Bighouse, and had issue as 
given in the genealogy of that family. 

vi. Mary, married Sir Roderick Macleod of Talisker, second son of 
Macleod of Macleod. 

Donald married, secondly, in 1632, Elizabeth Thomson, who died 
about 1637, leaving one daughter : — 

vii. Ann, married Alexander, brother of Sir James Macdonakl of Sleat. 

1. Notwithstanding the agreement which we give in Appendix No.'39, this proposed erection of 
the parish of Kintail, partly out of Farr and partly out of Tongue, never took place, as the bishop 
was deposed a few weeks thereafter at the Glasgow Assembly of the Kirk. In the time of the 3rd 
Lord Reay, we shall see that the parish of Durness was divided into three parishes, viz. , Tongue, 
Durness, and Edderachilis. 

2. We do not believe that he was married to Mrs. Harrison, and Robert Mackay is certainly 
mistaken when he says that he was married to Lady Lindsay. 


Donald married, thirdly, Marjory, daughter of Francis Sinclair of 
Stirkoke, Caithness, by whom he had three sons and two daughters : — 

viii. William, had sas. of the lands of Kinloch, 4th January, 1669, and 
married Ann, daughter of Col. Hugh Mackay of Scoury, by 
whom he bad an only son, George. The said George was 
served heir to his deceased father, William, 24th February, 
1710, and married Elizabeth, daughter of Angus IV. of 
Bighouse. The issue of this last marriage was an only son, 
Captain William Mackay, who married Jane Mackay of Borgie, 
and died at Thurso without issue, 1772. 

ix. Charles, progenitor of the Sandwood Mackays, of whom see in 
their genealogy afterwards. 

x, Rupert, a twin brother of Charles, who died unmarried. 

xi. Margaret, died at Thurso, unmarried, 1720. 

xii. Christian, married Alexr. Gunn of Killearnan, chieftain of the 
MacHamish Gunns, and had issue. 



P. 53. 

WE already observed that John, as Master of Reay, was taken 
prisoner along with Huntly by the Covenanting Montrose in 
1639, and confined for a brief space in Edinburgh. In 1644, 
when Argyle advanced against the Aberdeen Royalists, Huntly, 
unable to withstand the onset, fled for shelter to the Strathnaver 

" He causes a shipe to be made readie, and, going to sea, landes in 
Stranaver, my lord Kea his countray, my lord of Rea being in Newcastle ; 
his sonne, who stayed at home, being his near cusne, receaues him 
joyfullie, and continued his faithful friend.'' 

Thus, the man whose ancestors spoiled the Mackays of the 
superiority of Strathnaver is now a welcome fugitive in the House of 
Tongue, while the family of Sutherland glare at him wildly from 
beyond the mountain barrier separating. Truly, Fortune's wheel 
turns strangely ! Lord Elcho, commanding at Aberdeen, writes the 
Earl of Sutherland in 1644 :— 

Suthr. Bk., I., 


need "be expected from us here till the slowness of 
Caithness, and malignancy of Stranawer and Assynt, which are within 

our division, be taken course with 

It is no wonder that the Master of Rea doth give no obedience to the 
Estates, when in spite of them he doth keep an open table to the Marquis 
of Huntly in his fields, and, as they do report, doth go openly to their 
churches, which I do admeir [wonder] the Estates should so long suffer." 

Huntly, who did not return to Aberdeenshire till after the battle 



1645-9] of Kilsyth, was doubtless busy in the far north strengthening the 
Royalist cause. According to the Wardlaw MS., Huntly and the 
Master of Reay journeyed to and fro through the north and came as 
far south as Beaufort Castle, near Beauty, the seat of Lord Lovat. 
At his final departure, the Master of Reay escorted him to Caithness 
and saw him safely aboard ship, probably at Wick, whence he sailed 
for Aberdeen. 

The Earl of Sutherland was very anxious to get possession of the 
Aberach lands along the Naver valley, by hook or by crook. He had 
the title, Lord Strathnaver, and now he wanted the flag, the Aberach 
lands. Donald, Lord Reay, became deeply involved in debt and had 
to give bonds to many of his creditors. The policy of Sutherland 
was to get the Grays and others in the shire to purchase these bonds, 
and on the strength of them to apprise certain lands which they 
would afterwards pass over to him. But neither the Reay family nor 
the Aberachs would tamely submit to this policy. It was in these 
circumstances that Neil Williamson, the Aberach, came to the front. 

After the defeat of Montrose at Philiphaugh, towards the close of 
1645, some of his Irish levies escaped to Strathnaver and settled 
among the Aberachs, as the Parliamentary records show. Assisted 
by these Irish and with as many more as he could get, Neil invaded 
Sutherland in 1646 and spoiled the Grays at Gruids, as a sort of 
punishment for the part they were playing. When the Earl of 
Sutherland advanced to Ben Rossal, 1647, with all Sutherland at his 
back supported by 500 regular troops, as already recorded, and made 
some terms with Donald, Lord Reay, Neil defiantly stuck to the 
hills. All through that year and the following one, or so long as 
Neil's head was above the ground, he took very good care that 
neither Grays nor Gordons profited anything from the lands along the 
Naver valley, to which they laid some claim. 

Neil had a brother John, a burgess in Thurso. In February, reay papers. 
1649, Neil went down to Thurso to procure ammunition through his 
brother and with no hostile intention, accompanied by an escort of 


Gordon of 



House of 

Kecords of 

Highlanders and Irish ; but the Irish began to plunder the towns- 
people, a fight ensued, and Neil was killed by misadventure rushing 
from church, for it was a Sabbath day, to quell the disturbance. In 
this fight, of Neil's party seven were killed besides himself, and ten 
were made prisoners, while sundry of the townspeople were killed and 
wouuded. This mishap naturally developed into a feud which lasted 
for over twenty years. 

On the 16th March, the Earl of Caithness petitioned the Estates, 
and the petition was granted, to embody troops to withstand the 
Strathnaver men and some Irish of Montrose's, who were harrying 
Caithness. The petition states that these invaders raided Caithness 
lately, when two of their leaders and six of their men were killed, and 
ten made prisoners, but that sundry Caithnessmen were killed and 
wounded. Since then the " hail Strathnaver men with the Irish and 
their other associates are risen in arms against Caithness." 

In the resulting blood-feud, John Neilson Aberach made no less 
than seven recorded raids into Caithness to avenge his father's fall, 
carrying away much spoil each time. In October, 1653, he raided 
the lands of Assary; in April, 1654, the lands of Spittal and Halkirk; 
in October, 1654, the lands of Berriedale and Strathmore ; in 
October, 1655, the lands of Spittal ; on the 20th March and again on 
the 2nd August, 1656, the lands of Spittal; and on the 15th 
September, 1656, the lands of Forss and Catchary. The author of 
the House and Clan of Mackay complains at page 334 that the 
death of Neil was not sufficiently avenged. In the light of what we 
have stated we believe the general reader will conclude that the 
vengeance was ample enough to satisfy the modern mind. 

But to return; on the 30th January, 1649, Charles I. lost his 
head, and very soon afterwards off went the heads of Huntly and the 
Duke of Hamilton. This, however, did not daunt the Royalists. 
On the 22nd February the Master of Reay and the Mackenzies, to 
wardlawms. the number of 700, attacked and captured Inverness, but hearing of 
reinforcements advancing from the south they soon thereafter retired 


io Dec. ices. 


1649] to the hills for safety, to return again on the 3rd May. 

"There happened an insurrection in the north of Scotland May 3, 
being Cross day, for Lieutenant General Midleton, haveing made his 
escape out of Barwick into these partes, the Lord Ray and the Mackenzies 
mustered and made a body of 1500; and coming over, some at Cessock, 
some at Beauly, crossed the bridge at Ness uppon the Lord's day in time 
of Divin service and allarmed the people of Inverness, impeding God's 
worshijj in that town ; for, instead of bells to ring in to service, I saw and 
heard no other than the noise of pipes, drums, pots, pans, ketles, and 
spits in the street, to provid them victuals in every house and in their 
quarters. The rude rascality would eat no meat at their tables untill the 
landlord laid down a shilling Scots uppon his trencher that sat, terming 
this argid caggin, chewing money." 

After making the good people of Inverness table down com- 
pensation for the wear and tear of their teeth on the tough meat 
provided, they set out for Balveny Castle on the Spey where they 
quartered, awaiting the arrival of Middleton at the head of a strong 
force of Gordons. Mackenzie of Pluscardin and some of the other 
leading officers went off to meet Middleton, and meantime no danger 
appeared imminent. But Colonels Kerr, Hacket, and Strachan by a 
forced cavalry march surprised them in the night time, and, after 
fierce fighting iu which over 400 of the Highlanders were killed, 
captured the survivors Lord Reay among them. This happened early 
in May. Hugh Mackay of Scoury was allowed to lead the disarmed 
Mackays back to Strathnaver, but Reay and a few of the other 
leaders were brought to Edinburgh and cast into prison. 

Bearing in mind the temper of the authorities at the time and the 
past Royalist activity of Reay, it is a wonder that he did not lose his 
head. That he had succeeded to the title but two or three months 
earlier may have made them so far clement towards him. If he 
saved his head that was about the most of it, for with the terror of 
the axe impending he was forced to sign blank bonds to the Grays of 
Sutherland, in name of damages for spoliation committed on them by 
his troops while marching south, that practically denuded him of the 
most of his estate. This appears from an action raised in the Court MS. 

148 XV. JOHN, 2nd LORD REAY 

of Session, 16/9, to reduce the charters of apprising secured by the 
Grays over parts of the Reay property. The plea then put forward 
on his Lordship's behalf was that the bonds on which the Grays 
executed were extorted from him by force and fear, a plea which 
satisfied the court. 

"The said pretended bands were extorted per vim per malum, in so 
far as it is offered to be proven that the said Master 1 of Ilea was taken 
prisoner by , Lieutenant to Sir Mungo Murray, and 

Beat Papers, detained in restraint and in private carcere until the said bands were 
extorted, which were most unjust, because though the Master of Eae and 
his shouldi ers had done any prejudice by taking away the goods of the 
said Grays of Arbol and Auchluy, yet he acted therein as a shouldier and 
was oloathed with a commission from the Marquis of Huntly and 

It is further stated in the documents that the decreet of apprising 
obtained by the Grays was " allowed by the commissioners for 
administration of justice for the people of Scotland in 1650." 

About this period there are various entries in the Records of 
Parliament bearing upon Reay. A supplication was presented to 
Parliament, 3rd February, 1649, by the Earl of Sutherland and his 
vassals, asking assistance to repress the incursions of armed bands of 
Mackays, and to this end they were granted 400 merks monthly out of 
the shire of Sutherland. On 16th March, the Earl of Sutherland 
complained that 5000 merks of rent due out of Stratlmaver were 
seized by the Master of Reay, that the country of Sutherland is in 
constant dread of being invaded, and that 400 men are constantly 
watching the marches. On the 23rd May, the Estates granted a 
warrant to the Magistrates of Edinburgh to detain as prisoners Lord 
Reay, Duncane Mcky, Robert Mcky, Donald Mcky, John Mcky, 
Rorie Macleod, etc. These were no doubt some of the leaders 
captured at Balveny. 

On the 14th June, the Estates empowered the Earl of Sutherland 
to build and occupy with 100 soldiers a sconce in Stratlmaver, and 

1. He is styled Master of Reay in the documents because the act of spoliation in question was 
committed by him before his father's death, probably towards the close of 1643. 


1649-50] from an entry a few days later it appears that the monthly expense of 
the garrison amounted to £1114 13s 6d, 

"to be paid as follows: — furth of the maintenance of the shire of 
Caithness £724 17s lid, the maintenance of Sutherland, £439 4s 9d, the 

burgh of Dornoch, £27 and £72 2s 4d remains to be 

paid by the Earl of Sutherland " 

The ruins of the sconce, which was horse-shoe shaped with the 
opening towards the river, may yet be seen about 100 yards below 
the burn of Langdale, Strathnaver, and close to the high-way. On 
28th June, the Estates ordain that Lord Reay is to remain in prison 
till the public debts incurred by him and the charges against him are 
paid out of his property. On 4th August, the Earl of Sutherland 
and his vassals report their losses at the hands of Reay, those of the 
earl amounting to £20,935 6s 8d, and those of Sir Robert Gordon to 
£10,834 10s 4d— very liberal estimates, we should think ! They 
plead these losses should be recouped out of Reay's estate. This was 
granted by Parliament, and Reay condemned to lie in prison until full 
satisfaction is given. From this it may be gathered that Reay was 
fairly on his back. The wonder is that he ever recovered, but he did. 
Lord Reay's sad plight at this juncture gave rise to the Gaelic 
proverb, current throughout the Royalist north : — 

" Ma tha mise truagh, is e mo thruaighe MacAoidh." 
If I am miserable, more so is Mackay. 

Ill the spring of 1650, the adventurous Montrose once more 
tempted fortune for the house of Stuart. It was his last cast. 
Landing in Orkney, he crossed over with a body of Orcadians and 
Dutchmen to Thurso, where he was visited by Mackay of Scoury and 
other Strathnaver leaders. Gordon of Sallagh relates that the 
Mackays urged Montrose to march southwards by way of Strathnaver 
and Braechat, keeping to the hills, and that when he chose the more 
risky coast-side they returned home. It is no wonder though the 
Mackays refused to join in such a mad enterprise ; Balveny was fresh 


150 XV. JOHN, 2nd LORD REAY 

in their memories, a hostile garrison was quartered in Strathnaver, 
and their chief lay a prisoner at Edinburgh. Very soon afterwards 
Montrose was defeated near Bonar, captured in Assynt by Macleod, 
and dispatched to Edinburgh for execution. 

Charles II. landed at the mouth of the Spey in June, and on the 
records of 15th July a garrison was planted at Tongue under Macleod of Assynt 
to keep the Mackays from rising, that in Strathnaver being under 
Captain William Gordon. Macleod's appointment to this post may 
have been part of his reward for the capture of Montrose. The 
wheel now took another turn. The Scots who fought under General 
Leslie against Charles I. rally round his son, Charles II., and are 
commanded by the same Leslie. At Dunbar, Cromwell defeated 
Leslie, 3rd September, and advanced on Edinburgh, which he took 
with ease. Before the close of the year, Reay made his escape from 
Edinburgh prison in a romantic fashion. If tradition holds true, he 
owed his deliverance to his brilliant 1 wife and to a gigantic hook- 
nosed Aberach servant-man. So effectively did the lady plead with 
Cromwell for her husband's freedom, that he agreed not to interfere if 
she could only manage to get his Lordship outside the prison walls. 
We give the tradition as it is recorded in the House of Mackay. 

"A great difficulty still remained, how to get his Lordship beyond 
the prison walls. His lady and his servant, John Mackay, one of the 
clan Abrach, always had free access to him. There were two grenadier 
centinels before the front entry to the prison. John said, if Lady Reay 
could get his Lordship brought that length he would, at the hazard of his 
life, prevent the centinels from obstructing him. The lady got her part 
effected ; and as Lord Reay was ready to advance towards the centinels, 
John suddenly laid hold of them both, and with the greatest ease laid 
prostrate the one above the other, and then disarmed them. As his 
master was now under cover of the protection, John surrendered himself 
and was immediately put in piison and laid in irons. He was afterwards 
brought to his trial, at which Cromwell himself was present. He said, 
that the servant had no doubt forfeited his life : but his conduct, which 
went to obtain his master's liberty, and perhaps to save his life, was 

1. Fraser in the Wardlaw MS. eulogises hsr thus: — "Indeed she was the mirror of our north 
bred ladyes, the prettiest, wittiest woman that I ever knew here ; a great historian, a smart poet, 
and for virtue and housekeeping, few or none her paralell." A specimen of her poetry may be 
consulted in the Wardlaw MS., p. 509 


1650-2] heroical His opinion, therefore, was that for the sake 

of justice the panel should be condemned to die, but that in the 
circumstances of the case the crime should be remitted, which was agreed 
to unanimously. After the sentence was intimated to the prisoner, 
Cromwell having taken a full view of his large hooked nose, impending 
eye-brows, fierce manly aspect, and proportional figure, exclaimed, "May 
I be kept from the devil's and from that man's grasp " ! 

On the 3rd December, 1650, Charles II. and the Estates met at 
Perth, when the disturbed state of the country was considered and 
officers appointed to raise troops for the country's defence. To Hew pf^° RM 0F 
Mackay of Scoury was entrusted the charge of raising men in 
Strathnaver, and a few days afterwards the Estates passed an 
ordinance that the garrison kept in Strathnaver by the Earl of 
Sutherland shall no longer be chargeable to the public purse. In 
April, 1651, a levy of Mackays and other northern clans marched Ward1aw MS 
through Inverness on their way to the king's rendezvous at Stirling. 
The Mackays were under the command of Captain William Mackay of 
Borley, nephew of Hew Mackay of Scoury. On the 31st July, the 
Scottish army began its march southwards under the king, and on the 
3rd September was completely defeated by Cromwell at Worcester. 
Many of the unfortunate prisoners taken that day were sold as slaves 
to the planters in Barbadoes, but Mackay of Borley managed to elude 
capture and made his way back to Strathnaver. 

After Worcester, King Charles passed over to the Continent, and 
by February, 1652, the whole of Scotland was garrisoned by 
Cromwell's soldiers, while a fleet of ships scoured the Scottish seas 
co-operating with the army of occupation. On 15th February, 
instructions were sent to Colonel Cooper to place half a company in SC0T HlST 
Thurso and a company and a half in Castle Sinclair, near Wick. Soc - VOL - 18 - 
Others in larger or smaller bands were stationed all over the country. 
Thus Scotland came to be completely under the English Parliament, 
a state of matters equally obnoxious to Royalists and Covenanters. 
Seven Commissioners were appointed to administer justice in 
Scotland, for the Privy Council and Court of Session ceased to l!Xl R0W ' Vs 

Scot. Hist. 

152 XV. JOHN, 2nd LORD REAY 

discharge their functions, and these Commissioners were empowered 
to confiscate the estates of such as bore arms for King Charles II. 
Naturally such as were deeply involved in the affairs of the house of 
Stuart felt ill at ease, and during 1653 secret communications passed 
and repassed between them regarding a projected rising, which soon 
took place. 

On the 9th September, Colonel Bramfield, a deputy of Charles II., 
advised the king to send letters '"from your Majesties hand" to 
certain Royalists, among them Lord Reay, and also to appoint his 
soc, vol. is. Lordship one of a committee of sixteen "for the government of 
affairs in the kingdom of Scotland." It was probably in reply to this 
royal missive that Reay wrote the letter which we give in Appendix 
No. 41. In consequence of the hostile attitude of the Dutch States 
towards England, the Royalists were very sanguine of assistance from 
the Continent, but the unexpected peace dashed these hopes though 
it did not prevent their rising. 

Towards the close of February, 1654, General Middleton, as 
Commander-in-Chief of the Royalists, landed at the Ferry of Unes, 
north of Dornoch, with 300 barrels of powder and 5000 stands of 
arms, which he deposited under a garrison in Skelbo Castle. He 
proceeded up Strathoikel as far as Assynt, raising the country side, 
and from thence marched into Strathnaver where Reay joined him 
with 200 men. Reay and Middleton set out for Caithness, beating 
up recruits as they go, and having planted a detachment in Thurso, 
they both returned to Skelbo. At the latter place they were joined 
by Sir George Munro of Culrain, Glencairn, and others, about the 
second week of April, when Sir George, an officer of Continental 
experience, was appointed Major-General. But this appointment 
gave rise to dissension, and resulted in a duel between Sir George 
and Glencairn fought at Evelix, near Dornoch. Of course, this 
blasted the success of the rising which from the beginning was a 
hopeless one. 

While in Sutherland, Reay took the opportunity of settling scores 


1654] with his old foes there, who four years before had turned the screw so 

sorely on him at Edinburgh. With 500 Strathnaver men at his back 
he practically devastated the south of Sutherland, burning what he 
could not take away. 

Colonel Lilburne writes to Cromwell, " I heare the Lord Rea is very- 
active against us (a most unworthy man), and that the Earle of Suther- 
land is driven out of his country with his sons, and Middleton hath 
turned his Lady out of doores, and sent her after him, and his land and 
estate is exceedingly wasted 

I thinke if itt bee true that the Lord Rea is soe active, if his lands 
were given to repaire the Lord Sutherland itt were but just." 

The latter suggestion came from the earl himself doubtless. At any 
rate it was the steady policy of his house for some time previously. 
While Reay is not at all to be excused for devastating so sweepingly, 
according to the ethics of the time he may have felt himself justified 
in making sure that the excessive bill of damages brought against him 
at Edinburgh lately should be properly balanced ! 

By the middle of May, Reay and Middleton returned to Caithness 
and took up their quarters in Wick. Captain Peter Mews, writing 
from Thurso, 4th June, 1654, says : — 

" The Lord Rea having raised his men we marched into Cathnes as high 
as Wyke, neere which the rebels had a garrison of 100 men. "We found 
the place strong and not to be taken without greater guns than those we 
brought over, and to cut off relief, save only by land, impossible wanting 

ships The Lord Rea continued 

there with his men, without attempting anythinge on the Castle or they 
on us, save only a few alarums." 

The place which they found so strong was doubtless Castle Sinclair, 
two miles north of Wick, perched upon a high sea-rock, the seat of 
the Earl of Caithness who was himself a Royalist. 

By the middle of June, they return again to Sutherland where 
Reay seems to have remained, but Middleton went to Gleuelg and 
thence to Badenoch, where he was defeated by Colonel Morgan, about 
the middle of July. After Middleton's defeat at Dalnaspidal the 


154 XV. JOHN, 2nd LORD REAY 

rising was practically extinguished, although Reay kept the field till 
ko P 42. dix May, 1656. One after another, Glencairn, Lome, Lochiel, Seaforth, 
Munro, &c., capitulated on very generous terms offered by the 
English Government, who were anxious to win over the Highlanders 
in favour of their scheme of union between England and Scotland. 1 

Now that order was restored, it was the turn of the Sutherland 
men to settle scores with Reay, and they did it on the bonds extorted 
at Edinburgh — there was no compensation for the late spoliation, so 
far as we are aware, because of the Government's anxiety to give no 
cause for friction. Towards the close of 1655, Gray of Creich, Gray 
of Auchly, and Gordon of Gordonston got charters of apprisement over 
a considerable portion of Reay's property, and they congratulated 
themselves on having at last extinguished him, but they were 
mistaken. Five years thereafter, the Restoration of Charles II. 
changed the face of affairs ; Reay was then the top dog and they were 
below. So impoverished did the Earl of Sutherland become, that he 
had to sell his plate before he died in 16/9, as Sir Wm. Fraser tells us. 
Reay too was poor, but he was on the ruling side till his death, which 
meant a good deal in these days. 

Since the fall of Neil Williamson, the Aberach, at Thurso, 1649, 
the Strathnaver men again and again made spoiling raids into 
Caithness by way of revenge. At last the people of Caithness, feeling 
that they were getting too much of this, complained to the Court of 
Justiciary at Edinburgh, and on the 6th February, 166/, Letters of 
Fire and Sword, against certain specified persons, to be executed 
betwixt that date and the 1st July following, were granted to William 
Sinclair of Dunbeath and others. In executing this commission 
Sinclair and his friends committed two mistakes which cost them 
dearly. They did not make their counter raid into Strathnaver till 
March, 1668, or eight months after the expiry of their commission ; 
aud what was more serious, they executed the commission against the 

1. For our account of the rising under Middleton we are much indebted to Scotland and the 
Protectorate (Scot. Hist. Soc.) 



1668-9] wrong persons. The Neilson Aberachs they conkl not catch ; but 
they fell with fury upon the Munros of Eriboll who had no part in 
the quarrel, they murdered one of the Scoury Mackays in cold blood 
while travelling in Aberdeenshire, and another of the Scoury Mackays, 
who had the misfortune to be driven ashore by stress of weather on 
the Caithness coast, they so ill-treated that he died a few days 
thereafter. Besides this they injured tenants of Reay, the Earl of 
Sutherland, &c, whose names were not on the proscribed list, and 
burnt their houses. It was now the turn of Reay and others to 
complain, with the result that Letters of Fire and Sword were issued 
to them against the Sinclairs, 10th December, 1668. By some rZ"" 
arrangement the punishment of the Caithnessmen was soon afterwards 
converted into a fine of 50,204 merks, as the following extract from a 
document among the Reay Papers shows : — 

"Donald, Master of Reay, obtained decreet on 25th July last against 
William Sinclair of Dunbeath, Mr James Innes of Sandside, William 
Dunbar of Hempriggs, Francis Sinclair, Nottingham, James Sinclair of 
Lybster, John Sinclair younger of Olbster, Alexander Sinclair of Telstane, 
Francis Sinclair of Stirkake, David Sinclair of Southdun, Donald Budge 
of Easterdale, James Innes of Thuster, William Sinclair of Thura, John 
Sinclair in Brebsterdorren, George Sinclair of Barrack, John Sinclair of 
Brebstermyr, Sir William Sinclair of May, George Sinclair of Olrig, John 
Bruce of Ham, Adam Cunningham in Carskow, James Cunningham in 
Geis, William Innes of Isanld, and Alexander Sinclair of Stempster, for 
the causes therein mentioned, for the sum of 50,204 merks Scots, and 
which sum the Master of Reay assigns to Sir George Munro of Culrain 
&c." l 

The Master of Reay assigned the above decreet for execution to his 
father-in-law, Sir George Munro, Commander of the forces in North 
Britain a man of much power. 

During the autumn of 1669, Lord Lovat paid a lengthy visit to 
Lord Reay at Durness, which is thus described in the Wardlaw 

"They live now at Dureness, whither my Lord came, longd for, and 

1. The date is not decipherable, but the paper is tied up with documents of the 70's of that 

156 XV. JOHN, 2nd LORD BE AY 

got a most freed welcom, especially to my good lady, who for her true 
affection to our name might well be named Barbara Fraser. The Lord 
Eay contrived all maner of sport and recreation to divert his dear Lovat, 
as he tearmd him ; sometimes out at sea in berges afishing, sometimes 
haukeing and hunting, sometimes arching at buts and bowmarks, jumping, 

wrestling, dancing All the gentlemen 

of the name of Macky conveened, and so to the deer hunting, for my Lord 
Kay hath the finest and richest forest in the kingdom for deer and reas, 

their number and nimbleness 

My Lord Lovat, haveing stayed a whole month and more in Strath- 
naver, and, we may say, wearied with excess of pleasure, thinks of 
returning home the beginning of September, loadned with curtesies and 
obligations. My Lord Ray gifted him a curious, curled, black, shelty 
horse, several excellent firelocks, bowes, and a sword that perhaps for 
goodness and antiquity might be called the non-such, and two deer 
greyhounds. My Lady gifted him a plaid all of silk, party colloured, her 

own work My Lord Eay in the end, 

after a most kindly but melancholious farewell, conveyed Lovat out of his 
bounds with twenty gentlemen in train, and set him on Sutherland 

This pleasing picture of the state which his Lordship maintained at 
Durness is amply borne out by various facts recorded in the Reay 
Papers. For the amusement of his household lie kept a pipier, a 
clarsor (harper), and an amadan 1 (fool) ; and for the education of his 
family he maintained a tutor, the Rev. Donald Macintosh, afterwards 
minister of Farr, and thereafter of Strathspey. 

In consequence of the political complications and outlook in 16/2, 

Reay and Seaforth in that year renewed the bond of friendship which 

appendix j )a j k een con t rac t e( j between their houses in 1639. The Macdonald, 

Munro, Fraser, &c. witnesses to the transaction may be significant of 

the political friendship existing at that time between these various 

T. Tradition records that Reay's fool was a 'cute fellow, and that his Lordship was very proud 
of him. The Macintosh of Moy Hall was visiting at Durness when the conversation turned upon a 
notorious freehooter, who invested the Muilbui of the Black Isle and defied capture, notwithstand- 
ing his continual depredations. Reay ventured to bet that his fool would outwit the robber. The 
fool was accordingly dispatched to Moy Hall for a small sum of money, with strict orders to pass 
and repass through the Black Isle. On his way out the fool and the robber met, and the former 
with apparent guilelessuess told the purport of his errand to the latter. On the return journey the 
fool and the robber met again by appointment, when the former, taking the latter of his guard, 
stabbed him and then cut off his right hand, which he wrapped in his plaid and carried to Durness. 
When brought into the presence of Reay and Macintosh, he was asked if he saw the famous Black 
Isle robber. " Yes," he replied, throwing the severed hand on the floor, "and he gave me his hand 
he would never rob another." 


Highland families. The bond should be consulted in our Appendix 
No. 44. 

During the closing years of Lord Reay's life a great many 
Strathnaver men entered the military service of the Dutch States, 
some of whom rose to eminent rank in that country, making it their 
permanent home. Among these may be mentioned General Hugh 
Mackay of Scoury, of whom more anon, and General Aeneas, second 
sou of Lord Reay, and progenitor of the Dutch Mackays. 

Lord Reay, who died in 1680, was twice married. By his first 
wife, Isabella Sinclair, a Caithness lady, whom he married in 1636, 
he had two children : — 

i. Robert, who died early in life without issue. 

ii. Jane, married (contract 14 November, 1665) Eobert Gordon, third 
son of John, Earl of Sutherland. Eobert Gordon died 1 at 
Langdale, Strathnaver, 1671, without issue; and his widow 
afterwards married, secondly, Hugh Mackay IV. of Strath y, by 
whom she had issue as given in our account of that family. 

Lord Reay married, secondly, Barbara, daughter of Colonel Hugh 
Mackay II. of Scoury, by whom he had three sons and three 
daughters : — - 

Hi. Donald, Master of Eeay, who predeceased his father, and of whom 
a short account follows 

1. This is how Fraser in the Wardlaw MS. accounts for Gordon's death : — "A Dutch marchant- 
man of 250 tun, loadned with wines, brandy, spices, iron, salt, &c„ a very rich cargo, was cast in 
upon the coast of Strathnaver, where Admiralty is not much regarded. All the people flockt 
about the shore. The people, not knowing then the strength of brandy or such foreign liquor 
drank to excess of it, and I heard it say that this very ship's loadning dehaucht Oathnes and 
.Strathnaver to that degree that very many lost their lives by their immoderation. Mr Robert 
Gordon, the Earl of Sutherland's son, being but newly married to Miss K. Mackay, Lord Rays 
daughter, a high blooded saguin, fell accidentally with some camarads, and tooke a great latitude, 
drinking liberally even to excess. At length he got free of them, escaping with his life to take 
some rest. Shortly after, these cupvullid villans came in to the gentlemans chamber, being in bed 
with his bride, oblidges him to rise and drink so many healths iu his shirt standing. The poor, 
modest, bashful lady had not the confidence (lest critickly construed) to challange "them, or call 
her husband to his bed. With reluctancy they parted. Robin went away, laid him down, but 
never rose." 

Though we quote from the Wardlaw MS. here and elsewhere on matters which might well lie 
within the compiler's own knowledge, the fact should not be overlooked that the Hev, Mr Fraser 
knew very little of the history of Caithness, Strathnaver, and Sutherland before his own time. 
When he deals with that subject be simply quotes from Sir Robert Gordon, whose MS. history he 
must have consulted, for he repeats his mistakes and misrepresentations almost word for word. 
For over two centuries and a half after his own time, Sir Robert Gordon like a Colossus bestrode 
the history of our far north, and almost every writer dealing with that subject took their facts 
from him, often without any acknowledgement. This is notoriously true in the case of the 
Wardlaw MS. 

158 XV. JOHN, 2nd LORD REAY 

iv. Brigadier-General Aeneas, progenitor of the Dutch Mackays, of 
whose descendants we give an account afterwards. 

v. Colonel .Robert, of the Scots Brigade in Holland. He was so 
severely wounded at the battle of Killicrankie that he never 
completely recovered, but he was able to serve afterwards both 
in Ireland and in Holland. Eventually he returned to his 
native land and died at Tongue, 1696. It was on the occasion 
of Colonel Robert s death that John Mackay, the blind piper of 
Gairloch, composed the well know Gaelic elegy " Coir an Esain." 
Of this piece the editor of The Beauties of Gaelic Poetry says, 
"that beautiful pastoral . . . which of itself might well 
immortalize his fame. It is not surpassed by anything of the 
kind in the Keltic language." One verse of this striking poem, 
in which the bard addresses the corrie so famed for its deer and 
so beloved of Robert, we venture to quote. 

" On tha thus a' caoidh nan armunn 
Leis am b' abhaist bhi ga cP thaghall, 
Gu'n seinn mi ealaidh gu'n duais dut, 
Ge fada bhuam 's mi gu'n fhradharc." 

Corrie, wailing the chieftains 
That were wont thy sides to climb, 
I will soothe thee with an ode, 
Though distant far, and blind. 

The blind piper makes it very evident that Robert, whose death 
he so pathetically laments, was an ardent lover of the chase. 

vi. Joanna, married (contract 21st April, 1681) William Fraser of 
Stray, grand-nephew of Alexander, 5th Lord Lovat. 

vii. Anna, married (contract 30th April, 1687) Hugh Mackay of 
Borley, as his first wife, but no issue by her. 

viii. Sibylla, married (contract 3rd December, 1687) Lauchlan 
Macintosh of Aberarde. She married, secondly, Alexander 
Rose, a bailie of Inverness, contract 25th October, 1689. 


XVI. ponalo, ^Taster of itccty. 

f~r01IN, 2nd Lord Reay, at what date we cannot say, denuded 
^l himself of his landed estate in favour of his elder son, Donald, 
the Master. This was a common practise among families in 
the far north at that period and for some time previously. The object 
was twofold : to guard against the inconvenience of feudal wardships 
on the succession of minors, and to prevent the forfeiture of estates in 
times of political convulsion, when the head of a family might be 
bearing arms against the constituted government. The inheritance to 
which the Master of Reay succeeded was considerably embarrassed, 
as we saw. To the debts of Donald, 1st Lord Reay, incurred in the 
service of Gustavus Adolphus and in the service of Charles I. at 
Newcastle, have to be added those of John, 2nd Lord Reay, incurred 
by his support of Charles II. ; and the losses of the latter were the 
more serious of the two, because bondholders took charters of 
apprising over his estate. In consequence, however, of the foresight 
of the first Lord Reay in making certain arrangements, his debts 
proved a blessing in disguise to his grandson. 

On the 4th September, 163/, the first Lord Reay consolidated his 
debts, when Robert Munro of Achness, in Strathoikel, a great friend 
of his Lordship, purchased all the floating bonds, and subsequently 
by arrangement took a bond of apprising over the whole estate. On 
8th March, 1644, this first bond was secured on behalf of the Reay 
family by William Mackay of Borely, grandson of Donald Balloch of 
Scoury. In the autumn of 1677, Donald, Master of Reay, married 



Ann, daughter of Sir George Munro of Culrain, Commander-in-Chief 
of the forces in North Britain, and shortly thereafter the first bond in 
question was assigned to Sir George, who immediately raised an 
action of reduction in the Court of Session against the Grays and 
Gordons, holders on charters of apprising of a large portion of the 
Reay property. Sir George raised his action, 29th June, 16/9, and 
after prolonged litigation was successful by the end of the summer of 

The principal plea of the prosecution was, that the Grays and 
others, in 1649, unjustly extorted from John, then Master of Reay, 
ruinous bonds on pretended spoliation, while he was in prison and 
lying at their mercy, and that afterwards on the strength of these 
bonds they got themselves infeft in his lands. The verdict of the 
Court was, that as Reay committed the acts of spoliation complained 
of in the capacity of a soldier with the king's commission, and that as 
a few years thereafter his own lands were spoiled and his house at 
Tongue burnt while serving his Majesty, the extorted bonds and 
consequent charters of apprising were null and void. Further, that 
as Sir George was assignee of the bond of 163/ the first claim over 
the estate pertained to him. and that as the heritor raised no objection 
it was within his right to secure the estate by a charter of apprising. 
This Sir George did, and then handed the charter 1 over to his 
grandson, George, 3rd Lord Reay, that is to the son of Ann Munro by 
Donald, Master of Reay, for both the Master and his father, Lord 
John, had died meantime. 

1. For the above facts we are indebted to documents in the Reay charter chest. It may be of 
interest to point out that by the lawsuit, concluded in 1681, the lands' comprised in the Reay estate 
were as follows: — "All and heall the tounes and lands of Ribigill miln and milnlands thereof, 
Kenlochmore, Kenlochbeg, Mussall, Delkeppach, Islandryre, Arnubill and salmon fishing upon the 
water of Drydarie, Hunlim miln and milnlands thereof, Eriboll, Sfcrathbeg, Islandchorie, Hope, 
the lands of the forrest of Dirimore and salmond fishing thereof upon the waters of Garow- 
rone, Ardbeg, Ardmore, Kenlochbervie, Alsleorbeg, Alsleormore, Carnamanach, Sandwatt 
Kerrowag, Havish, Keoldeall and salmond fishing upon the water of Durines and crooves thereof,' 
Crangilick, Borlie, Slaines, Balnakill, Farrett, Galwall, Crossiball, Balnmlich, Sangnes, Island- 
hoan, Rispin. Froskill, Strathmellines, Melineish miln and milnlands thereof, Islandgyle, 
Scorlomie, Strathtoung, Caldaback, Toung miln and milnlands thereof, Kirkiboll, Scrabuster, 
Kinnisad, Releadan, Oldlongart, Torrantarrow, Lettermore, Mowdaill, Gnubmore, Guubeg, 
Rossall, Shyre, Langwall miln and milnlands thereof, Skeall miln and milnlands thereof, Raigill, 
Carnachie miln ami milnlands thereof, Invernaver, Skelpick. Rangivie miln and milnlands thereof, 
Farr miln and milnlands thereof, Kirtamie, Borgiebeg, Borgiemore, Torrisdaill, Skerray, 
Islandrone, Islandcolme with all and sundrie the houses &c." See Reay Papers. 


1680-1] The reader is not to conclude that the judges in Edinburgh passed 

a wet sponge over the debts of the Reay family ; they did nothing of 
the kind. All the legal debts of the family remained untouched and 
were honourably met every penny with interest by the 3rd Lord Reay, 
who is justly known in Strathnaver tradition as Am Morair Mor, 
the great lord. The judges simply sponged out the blank bonds 
extorted from the 2nd Lord Reay when a prisoner, and tore up the 
charters of apprising which enemies obtained by execution on the 
said cruel bonds. That the legal courts of the time were corrupt 
goes without saying, but we fail to see anything unjust in the 
judgment of 1681 — the injustice lay rather with those who brought 
such pressure to bear on Reay in 1649, when his head lay practically 
on the block. 

In 16/8 the Master finished the rebuilding of the House of 
Tongue, burnt in 1656 by the forces of the Commonwealth when 
the Mackays were in arms under Middleton for the king, and 
to the rebuilt house he brought his biide. By mutual arrangement, 
the Master took up his residence at Tongue while his father 
and mother continued to live in Balnakcil House, Durness, of 
which Lady Reay had a life-rent charter in virtue of her marriage 
contract. By the said contract, Barbara, Lady Reay, was seased for 
life in "the town and half davach land of Farret, the one and a 
half davach lands of Durness, the town and lauds of Idclin and 
Bellmullich, the three davach lands of lie Manse of Duirnes called 
Bellachastell, Galdwell, and Iddinnahua etc." 

In the autumn of 1680, the Master was killed hunting in the 
Reay forest by the accidental explosion of a barrel of gunpowder, and 
his father passed away not long thereafter. The grief at the Master's 
fall throughout Strathnaver, so graphically described in the House 
and Clan of Mackay, was accentuated by the critical lawsuit then 
pending ; but in the providence of God his only son and child lived 
to succeed and to rule with growing prosperity in the House of 
Tongue. That, however, is another story. 

Reay Papers. 


The Master married (contract 22 August, 1677) Ann, daughter of 
Sir George Munro of Culrain, and had issue by her one son, George, 
afterwards 3rd Lord Eeay, of whom follows. Ann, Mistress of Reay, 

Blk. MS. i . 

married, secondly, Lauchlan Macintosh of Macintosh. 


XVII. George, 3r6 Jiovb £xeav>. 


/^EORGE, 3rd Lord Reay, who was born towards the close of 
^.S 16/8, succeeded in the title his grandfather, the second Lord 
Reay, towards the close of 1680, and during the following 
fourteen years was under the solicitous guardianship of his maternal 
grandfather, Sir George Munro of Culrain. With sleepless watchful- 
ness and untiring care the peppery old Cavalier husbanded the 
resources of the estate, and with the assistance of the versatile 
Dame Barbara, Lady Reay, provided the very best education 
for the clever boy. During these years many of the debts 
lying on the estate were cleared away, and though a heavy 
burden still remained as soon as his Lordship came of age he 
shouldered it like a man, disentangling his property with a financial 
capacity which cannot be too highly praised. To clear his feet 
Reay had to part with the lands along the Xaver river from 
Moudale downwards, but if he did he secured the estate of Scoury, 
and before he died saw one of his sons proprietor of Bighouse and 
another proprietor of Skibo. But we must hark back to our 

The period 1680-88 was one of growing religious persecution in 
Scotland. The Stuarts were steering madly for political perdition. 
Miserable as were the closing years of the reign of Charles II, when 
he died in 1685 he was succeeded by his brother James VII, who 
not only roused the Covenanters to desperation but alienated from 



himself many of the old Cavalier families, until in 1688 the nation 
rose up and swept the Stuarts off the boards. During these wretched 
years the secluded mountains of Strathnaver afforded a gracious 
asylum to many a hunted Covenanter, and around the shores of 
Lochnaver the warmest welcome was extended by the Aberachs to 
the persecuted ones. The sympathies of John Mackay, 7th Aberach 
chieftain, who had married a daughter of the saintly poet, the Revd. 
Alexander Munro, minister of Durness, lay with the men and women 
who stood up "for Christ's Crown and Covenant." A generation 
earlier Strathnaver sheltered the broken Irish followers of Montrose, 
now it took into its arms fugitives of quite a different kind. 

One of the sorely tried was Christina Ross, widow of Alexander 
pak° R xi°2i7 Fearn of Pitcallion in Ross, who was forced to flee in the night time 
" with one of her sons of fourteen years of age running at her foot, in 
the winter time, to Strathnaver hills," where she lived for three 
months, until the Countess of Sutherland "sent privately for her in 
the night time, and kept her for two months close in a chamber, and 
took home one of her daughters out of charity." The only charge 
against her was that she attended conventicles and showed hospitality 
to outed ministers. It may be of interest to point out that a 
daughter of this widowed lady married Alexander Mackay, nephew 
of John, the Aberach chieftain, and that a son of this marriage was 
Robert of Halmadary, whose religious fervour developed into 
fanaticism of the most extravagant character. Of that we shall 
speak afterwards. 

While King James was goring his people, many fled for refuge 
over the sea to the Protestant court of William, Prince of Orange, 
who had married a daughter of the British monarch. Determined 
upon the expulsion of James, the heart of the nation went out 
towards Prince William, and overtures were made to him to come 
over and to pick up the crown. In the service of the Dutch States 
there was a Scots Brigade consisting of three regiments, and one of 
Prince William's most trusted officers was General Hugh Mackay of 


1669-82] Scoury, brother of Barbara, Lady Reay, and a man of such an 

adventurous career as to merit an introductory notice by the way. barxardi's 

General Hugh Mackay III. of Scoury in early life joined 
Dumbarton's regiment in the service of France, and during the war 
between the Venetian States and the Turks served as a volunteer 
with the former, obtaining a medal in 1669 for important services 
performed at the siege of Candia. After this he served with the 
French in their war with the Dutch States, but coming under the 
influence of a pious, Protestant, Dutch lady, whose daughter 
eventually became his wife, he quitted the service of France and 
joined the Dutch. His valour at the siege of Grave brought him to 
the notice of the Prince of Orange, who promoted him to the rank of 
Lieutenant-Colonel on the 19th March, 16/5, and to that of Colonel 
of the Scots regiment on the 28th April, 1676. When Mackay 
assumed command, the Scots regiment was in a very disorganised 
state. The following extract from Strictures on Military Discipline 
indicates the cause and the cure. 

" In some skirmishes that happened in the army even in the years 
1675 and 1676 the Scots did not behave with their usual spirit and 
conduct, and the Prince was much piqued and displeased, insomuch that 
he one day asked the brave General Mackay, lately come to his service 
from France, if he was not surprised and ashamed at the behaviour of 

his countrymen so different from what the 

Scotch brigade had done in the army of Gustavus Adolphus when 
commanded by his friend Lord Rae. 

Mackay as much piqued as the Prince begged 

leave to tell his Highness that altho' they had that name they did not 
deserve it, for that near one half of the officers and more of the men were 
not Scots, but were Dutch, French, Germans, and of all nations, even 
some officers in high rank as well as captains and subalterns. . . 

But, says Mackay, if I may speak my mind freely to your Highness, 
and give my opinion, allow me to say that the only way to recover these 
regiments and bring them to their former state is by dispersing all these 
Dutch and foreign officers, under-officers, and soldiers into the national 
and newly levied or other regiments ; replace the officers with Scotch 
gentlemen of family and merit, raise Scotch recruits, and henceforth let 
officers, under-officers, and men be only Scots, and I shall answer for their 
being very soon as good as ever, and will behave as bravely. . . as 
ever my countrymen did in the army of Gustavus Adolphus." 


Mackay did not prove a false prophet. His advice was taken, 
officers and soldiers were recruited in Scotland, and soon the Scots 
Brigade became the flower of the army in Holland. In the new levy 
which came over to fill up the ranks were Mackay's two brothers, 
James and Roderick, and his nephew, the Hon. Aeneas Mackay, who 
brought with them a goodly contingent 1 from Strathnaver. These 
troops were destined betimes to take a prominent part under General 
Mackay in the struggle to place Prince William on the throne of 

As matters were ripening to a climax, the Prince of Orange 
dispatched chosen emissaries to Scotland with a view to strengthen 
his cause, among them Captain Aeneas Mackay who seems to have 
returned home early in 1687, for on the 12th April lie witnessed at 
Durness the pre-nuptial contract of his sister, Anna. On the 15th 
May, 1688, Captain Aeneas was imprisioned on suspicion of intriguing 
against the king in Edinburgh Castle., where he lay till after the 
p. c. Reg. Prince had landed in England. By order of the Privy Council 
Aeneas was liberated, 10th December, upon giving his bond to 
appear and answer anything that might be laid to his charge, under a 
penalty of £500 Sterling in case of failure. As Captain Mackay was 
the eldest surviving son of the late Lord Reay, and as the then Lord 
Reay was but a boy, he wielded the influence of a chieftain over his 
clansmen and got them to espouse the cause of the house of Orange. 
The same cause was adopted by Sir George Munro of Culrain, and 
probably under the same influence. 

General Hugh Mackay of Scoury, who accompanied the Prince to 
England, was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the forces in Scotland 
and dispatched to the north. On arrival in Edinburgh, 25th March, 

1. This famous regiment was the oldest of the three forming the Scots Brigade, and was 
embodied in 1574 by Sir Henry Balfour. Between the years 1077 and 1775 it had no fewer than 
four commanding officers of the name of Mackay, and in the following order. General Hugh 
Mackay of Scoury was its colonel 1677-92; Brigadier-General Aeneas Mackay, son of John, 2nd 
Lord Reay, and nephew of General Hugh of Scoury, commanded it lo92-i)S ; Colonel Donald 
Mackay, son of the Brigadier-General, was commanding officer 1742-45 ; and LieutenantG-eneral 
Hugh Mackay, grandson of General Hugh of Scoury, was its honorary colonel 1773-75. It had also 
many men in the ranks and not a few officers of the name of Mackay during more than a century 
of its existence, as a cursory glance at The Scots Brigade in Holland (Scot. Hist. Soc.) will show. 


1689] 1689, his commission was confirmed by the Convention of the 

Scottish Estates. The task allotted to him in Scotland was anything 
but an easy one owing to the distracted state of the country, especially 
in the Highlands. Dundee raised the standard of King James and 
many of the Highland clans rallied round him, while some who 
pretended to support the Prince of Orange were secretly giving 
assistance to the other side. For the most part, the trained troops 
at Mackay's disposal were the regiments that accompanied him 
from Holland, but these were sadly depleted to stiffen the raw militia 
speedily raised, and the ranks of the old regiments had to be filled 
with young recruits lacking in military discipline. 

Leaving most of the Dutch regiments behind him at Edinburgh to 
recruit, Mackay marched north in search of the enemy, and having 
placed a garrison in Dundee proceeded to Aberdeenshire, where he 
was joined by the Master of Forbes with about 600 men, who "were 
so ill armed and appeared so little like the work " that he decided to 
leave them in charge of that part of the country. Betimes Mackay 
reached Elgin with about 400 men, where he fortified himself, hearing 
that Dundee lay with a considerable army at Inverness. The 
northern people appeared to Mackay very indifferent to the great 
issue at stake. 

The people in general were disposed to submit and embrace the party 
which they judged most like to carry it, their zeal for the preservation of 
their goods going by them, far beyond the consideration of religion and 
liberty, which he attributed to their gross ignorance occasioned by the 
negligence of their ministers, as well as the large extent of their 

The only men that immediately joined him were his own 
clansmen, to the number of about 300, and a few Rosses. The 
officers in command of the Mackays appear to have been the Hon. 
Robert Mackay, afterwards wounded at Killicrankie ; Angus Mackay 
of Ribigill, killed in the above battle ; and Captain Hugh Mackay 
of Borley, afterwards Constable of Ruthven Castle. More the 



Mackays were not asked to send then — they sent 200 more shortly 
bahnattke afterwards — nor did it seem judicious at that time to seud more, 
owing to the unsettled state of some of their northern neighbours. 
On the west the Macleods of Assynt were for the Stuarts, and on the 
east Sinclair of "Dunbeth with two hundred hors and eight hundred 
foot is said to be endeavouring to joiu us," wrote Claverhouse. We 
are not aware that Dunbeath ever managed to carry out his intention 
of joining, but as the embers of the late feud with the Sinclairs were 
still hot, the Mackays had very good cause to keep a strong force 
watching the Druimholstein hills. To the south the Sutherlands were 
favourable to the Prince of Orange and did eventually join Mackay, 
but meantime they were loth to move. With Mackay, Sutherland, 
Ross, and Munro pulling together, the Sinclairs were isolated in a 
corner and could do nothing, unless Dundee should come north, 
which he never did. 

At length Mackay set out from Inverness taking 200 of the 
Mackays along with him, and reaching Ruthven Castle, near 
Kingussie, made the alarming discovery that his own cavalry was in 
disloyal correspondence with an overwhelming force of the enemy in 
the neighbourhood. Placing the disaffected dragoons in the centre, 
carefully covered by " 200 brisk Highlanders of the Lord Raes and 
Balnagowns men," he made a forced march in the night time towards 
the north-east and effected a safe junction with much needed 
reinforcements. His nerve and strategy at this critical juncture were 
most conspicuous, but he probably owed his safety to the clannish 
faithfulness of the " brisk Highlanders." A little later in Aberdeen- 
shire a battle seemed imminent, but the opposing Highlanders melted 
away without coming to grips. After various marches in search of 
an enemy continually eluding him in consequence of its nimbleness, 
Mackay came to the conclusion that the only successful method of 
coping with the situation was to plant garrisons in central positions, 
and urged the same upon the authorities. 

Meantime Mackay, however, had a sharp fall. He set out 


1689] northwards for Blair Castle with the intention of occupying and 

fortifying it, and by the way had to negotiate the pass of Killicrankie. 
Joined by Lord Murray, he pushed on through the dangerous defile, 
and on reaching Raon-Rorie, a plateau about the middle of the pass, 
made the alarming discovery that a strong force of hostile 
Highlanders were posted on the heights above him. To fall back 
through the narrow gorge was to court destruction, and to advance 
seemed impossible. On the plateau he disposed his force as best he 
could and waited the attack, which came in the evening. In such a 
situation steady troops were a necessity to resist an impetuous onset, 
and Mackay had not that. 

The Highland method of charging was to rush on, discharge their 
muskets in one wild, ragged volley, then throw them away and to it 
with the slashing broadswords. 1 These were the tactics pursued at 
Killicrankie. Mackay 's men were armed with the musket and 
bayonet, and at that time the latter could only be screwed into the 
muzzle of the former after the piece was discharged. In other words 
the musket could not be fired with the bayonet fixed, it had to be 
fixed after the discharge. When the Highlanders came on Mackay 's 
men received them with a volley which killed Dundee, but the enemy 
got among them with the sword before they were able to fix their 
bayonets, with consequences that may be imagined. Like a summer 
water-spout bursting on a smooth mountain side the rushing 
Highlanders swept a great hole through Mackay 's line ; what did not 
fall went reeling and swirling over the edge into the gorge, where lay 
the baggage, friend and foe all in a heap. Lieutenant-Colonel James 
Mackay, brother of the general, fell mortally wounded, the same fate 
befell Captain Angus Mackay of Ribigill and many more. Captain 
the Hon. Robert Mackay received eight sword cuts, some on the 
head, but lifted on to a horse he gallantly strove to rally his scattered 

1. "They attack barefooted, without clothing but their shirts and a little Highland doublet, 

whereby they are certain to outrun any foot They come on slowly till they 

be within distance of firing. . . . When their fire is over, they throw away their firelocks, and 
every one drawing a long sword. . . . ■ they fall a running toward the enemy " : — Mackay's 



men, and lived to fight another day. This battle took place on the 
2/th July, 1689. 

With the fall of Dundee the fruits of the victory were lost to the 
Highlanders, save only that they walked off with the baggage. The 
general retired to Stirling as best he could, and in a few days 
receiving reinforcements doubled back to Perth, where he fell upon a 
body of the enemy, killing 120 and taking 30 prisoners. Still a few 
days later a regiment of Cameronians, having been surrounded by a 
large force of Jacobites under General Canon at Dunkeld, beat off 
their foes after a two days' fight. These two blows so disheartened 
the Highlanders that they lost confidence in Canon. Throughout the 
remainder of the year, until winter put a stop to field operations, 
Mackay in vain sought to get to grips with the elusive enemy. 

Convinced that Cromwell's method of planting garrisons in 
central positions was the only sure way of restoring peace in the 
Highlands, he urged the matter upon the attention of the authorities 
at Edinburgh, but owing to miserable intrigues and divisions his 
advice was not followed up. The political chicanery to which 
Memoirs. Mackay was subjected made him very indignant. 

"All these considerations," he says, "made the General look upon 
Scotsmen of those times in general as void of zeal for their religion and 
natural affection, seeing all men bent after their particular advantages, 
and none minding sincerely and self denyedly the common good, which 
gave him a real distaste of the country and service ; resolving from that 
time forward to disengage himself out of it as soon as possible he could 
get it done, and that the service could allow of." 

As soon as the field was open in the spring of 1690, active 
operations were resumed. About the middle of April, Sir T. 
Livingston with 300 of his own dragoons, 400 of Leslie's, a company 
of " 100 brisk Highlanders of Lord Rea's men," and six companies of 
Grants, making "in all about 1200 choise men," marched out of 
Inverness .towards the east. On the evening of the 1st May they 
learned that the Jacobite army lay encamped on the haughs of 
Cromdale, and made dispositions for a surprise attack as the only 


1689-91] way of getting to close quarters with the vanishing enemy. 
Livingston, " having past his Highland company before him," 
followed with three troops of his own dragoons, afterwards known as 
the Scots Greys, and crossing a stream came in sight of the enemy. 
His object now was to get between the enemy and the foothills, 
towards which he feared they would fly. Off went the dragoons at 
the gallop, and off went the Stratlmaver men too. It was a race of 
man and horse, '"'wherein the Highland company outrun his horse" 
and got between the enemy and the hills. Of the enemy 400 men 
were killed or taken prisoner, and the rest were forced to flee. The 
smart fight at Cromdale fairly broke the back of the resistance. 

By writing directly to King William himself, Mackay was enabled 
to carry his point with regard to the garrisons. He immediately set 
to and built a stronghold at Inverlochy, which he dubbed Fort 
William out of compliment to the king, placing within it 1000 men 
provisioned " with 2000 bolls of meal, 30 hogsheads of aquavitae, 
and 60 fat cows." The quantity of whisky stored at Fort William 
seems to indicate that the soldiers of these times drank deeply. Of 
other luxuries, however, they had very little beyond oatmeal and 
some beef. Mackay then fortified Ruthven Castle and left it in 
charge of 100 Stratlmaver men, under Captain Hugh Mackay of 
Borley. Parties of Sutherlauds, Mackays, Grants, and Rosses, he 
placed in Inverness, Urquhart Castle, Ercles Castle in Strathglass 
and Brahan Castle near Dingwall, while three frigates scoured the 
Western Isles. In this way Mackay effectually pacified the Highlands 
for the time being. 

The civil war in Ireland proceeding apace, King William ordered 
General Mackay with the best of his Scots troops to reinforce General 
Ginkle. Soon after his arrival beyond the Irish Channel he greatly 
distinguished himself at the seigc of Athlone, 30th June, 1691, by 
fording the swollen waters of the Shannon in face of a hot fire and 
charging up to and over the enemy's trenches, carrying consternation 
before him. This is acknowledged to be the most brilliant feat of 


arms in that campaign, while his prompt and intrepid march to the 
assistance of a division of the army overpowered at Aughrim turned 
the scale of victor}' in favour of the British. It was in consequence 
of these victories, in which Mackay played such a conspicuous part, 
that General Ginkle, Commander-in-Chief of the forces in Ireland, was 
created Viscount Aughrim and Earl of Athlone. There is every 
reason to believe that General Mackay would have been suitably 
rewarded for these splendid achievements were it not for his untimely 
death the following year on the battlefield, as this extract from the 
Proceedings of the Estates of Scotland, preserved in the Advocates' 
Library, shows : — ■ 

" General Mackay, it is said, is to be made earl of the same title his 
father had before as a private gentleman." 

On the conclusion of the war in Ireland, General Mackay returned 
to Holland with his Scots Brigade and took part in the bloody battle 
of Steinkirk, 3rd August, 1692, where he fell mortally wounded. 
He was ordered by Count Solmes, the senior officer that day, to 
make an assault which Mackay saw could only end in disaster, but 
after remonstrating in vain he intrepidly advanced to the attack, 
exclaiming " the will of God be done." On that fateful day General 
Mackay and 3000 of his gallant men fell, covered with glory though 
not crowned with victory. Among the slain were the young Earl of 
Angus and Sir Robert Douglas of Glenbervie. Count Solmes, in 
consequence of his melancholy blunder that day, was forbidden the 
royal presence henceforth. General Mackay throughout his warlike 
career manifested a depth of piety and a purity of character, which 
well matched his military skill and dauntless courage, as Bishop 
Burnett, a contemporary, abundantly testifies. 1 

Shortly after the death of his grandfather, Sir George Munro of 
Culrain, in 1693 or the following year, the young Lord Rcay passed 
over to Holland where his two uncles, Aeneas and Robert Mackay, 

1. For further particulars the reader should consult Mackay's Memoirs, and his Life by John 
JIackay of Rockfield. 


1696-8] were on service, the one a Lieutenant-General and the other a Colonel. 
Here his Lordship finished his education, and from thence did not 
permanently return to Strathnaver until 1701. So long as his uncles 
lived they did not spare themselves in promoting the interests of the 
head of their family, but the one uncle died in December, 1696, and 
the other the following year. On the 20th July, 1697, Lord Reay 
writes from Bommel to Lord Tarbet as follows : — 

"The removal of my uncles lies very severe upon me, especially 
Colonel Aeneas', whose care for me in my education was in every manner 
fatherly, that his death is like to defeat the hopes I had of doing any cromartieBk. 
service to my family — my education being the only way I proposed to 
myself, by which I could be rendered capable of doing anything to 
retrieve the losses of my family or serve my country ; being willing to 
sacrifice my repose, how soon I was capable, for the rest of my days, to 
these two. What may become of me or it now, providence alone can 
determine, upon whom only I depend for a true solace ; nor would 1 
neglect the means, so long as I could perceive any probability of 

succeeding I shall now only entreat that your 

Lordship may be pleased to continue your wonted goodness and 
friendship for me, and to make interest with His Majesty and his 
ministers to consider the circumstances of a family that has suffered so 
severely in his service." 

Pious phrases were common in those days, but his Lordship's 
resolution to rely on God's providence was a marked feature of his 

At this time, a strong stream of Strathnaver men must have 
flowed abroad as soldiers of fortune. For more than a generation 
thereafter the great number of officers witnessing wadsets, tacks, 
contracts, bonds, etc., preserved among the Reay Papers, is conclusive 
proof of the above assertion. The favourite field of service was 
Holland, but in 1698 not a few joined in the ill-starred Darien 
expedition, which was intended to found the trading colonly of New 
Caledonia, on the isthmus of Panama, and for which about half a 
million of money was raised in Scotland. As at that time free trade 
between England and Scotland did not exist, the jealousy and passive 
hostility of the former eventually ruined a scheme in which the latter 


lost not only its money, but sacrificed the lives of 4000 brave men. 
On the inception of the company, a young Edinburgh lawyer, Donald 
Mackay, son of Captain William of Borley, joined it in a military 
capacity, having raised a hundred of his clansmen to that end. The 
Blackcastle MS. records as follows : — 

"He raised a company of men for the service of the colony and was 
elected one of the council for managing the company's affairs. On 17th 
July, 1698, he sailed with the fleet from Leith and arrived at the Isthmus 
of Darien, 28th September, the same year. The council having landed 
took possession of the colony under the name of Caledonia, and fixed 
their residence at New Edinburgh, 1st January, 1699. Captain Mackay 
was soon thereafter appointed to return to Britain with an address on the 
the occasion to His Majesty, King William III. He arrived in London 
the beginning of August, 1699, and in Edinburgh the 28th of the same 
month, when he was presented with the freedom of the city. 

On the 21st September, 1699, he again took his departure for the 
colony on board the ship called the Rising Sun. The ship having run 
short of water and provisions, put ashore at the island of Montserrat for 
a fresh supply, 9th November, 1699, when to their great astonishment 
they were informed by the Governor that he had received instructions 
from the English Government desiring him not to hold any intercourse 
with the colony. Upon which the ship sailed for St Cristopher and met 
with a similar refusal. They afterwards touched at Port Royal, Jamaica, 
13th February 1700, and weie informed that Sir William Beatson, the 
Governor, had issued a proclamation strictly prohibiting all persons, 
under any pretence whatever, from holding any correspondence with the 
Scots Settlement of Darien, or to give any assistance with arms, 
ammunition, provisions, etc. In consequence of which the vessel was 
obliged to sail again without any supply, and being reduced to the 
greatest want the men were endeavouring to catch fish, when they 
perceived a large shark following the ship. Captain Mackay, being a 
strong athletic man, took a harpoon which he threw and stuck fast in the 
body of the fish, but unfortunately not attending to have the rope 
attached to the harpoon sufficiently long and free it got entangled 
around his arm, by which he was in a moment pulled overboard and 

Captain Mackay on this second expedition was joined by his cousin, 
Donald Mackay, an Aberach, at the head of another company of 
Strathnaver men, who almost all died miserably on the voyage out, of 
hunger and disease. 


1700] During Lord Reay's absence in Holland the Sheriff-Depute of 

Strathnaver was George Munro, who " was chocked in his own 
barley," as his Lordship remarks incidentally in a document dated 
1719. We suspect that Munro came by his untimely death about 
1701, as the last document of the Reay Papers signed by him is 
dated 1700. His tombstone in Farr Churchyard, blazoned with the 
Munro arms and showing his initials, does not carry a decipherable 
date. In local tradition he is known as Fear Stra-Nuadhar, the man 
of Strath-Novar, and the traditional account of his death, which we 
give for what it is worth, is as follows. Munro, who lived at Rifail, 
in the Naver valley, made a very liberal use of the gallows in his 
administration of justice. Naturally this did not please the lieges, 
and matters came to a crisis when he hung an Aberach boy, found in 
possession of a salmon, on Cnoc na Croich, Hill of the Gallows, above 
Bettyhill. The Aberachs sullenly vowed vengeance and bided their 

Not long after this Stra-TSTuadhar suspected that corn was being 
stolen out of his barn at Rifail, and appointed a strapping Aberach 
to watch the premises during the night. Some of the barley corn 
was stored in builg, skin-sacks, and the rest gathered in a great 
unwinnowed heap in a corner of the building. Things were quiet at 
the barn for a few nights after the watch had been set, but at length 
movements were heard at the back door as of one stealthily 
endeavouring to steal in. The guard snored feigning sleep, and the 
would be burglar thus encouraged crept in and began to lug away one 
of the builg. In an instant the watchman seized the intruder, and 
lifting him off the ground thrust him head foremost into the heap of 
barley, The victim struggled vigorously for a time, but the Aberach 
grimly held on, and having effectually smothered his prisoner, sat on 
the body and awaited the break of day. When the morning brought 
relief to the guard the dead man was found to be none other than the 
sheriff-depute himself! It is likely that Munro entered the barn to 
test the faithfulness of his watchman, or he may have been 



Beat Papers 

inveigled in ; but be that as it may, the feeling throughout Strath- 
naver was that some hangings were now avenged. 

In the autumn of 1702 Reay passed over to Holland, and in 
December entered into a contract of marriage, at Bomell in 
Guelderland, with Margaret, daughter of General Hugh Mackay of 
Scoury. As the general's family was domiciled in Holland and had 
an estate there, the lauds of Edderachilis and Scoury were given in 
dowry to Lord Reay by disposition, dated at Bomell, 24th February, 
1/03. This was a large and valuable addition to the Reay estate, 
which his Lordship endeavoured to still further increase by the 
purchase if possible of the lands of Sandside, in Caithuess. Reay 
writes from Bomell, 3rd January, 1703, to Viscount Tarbet, Secretary 
of State : — 


" I gave Lord Seafield the trouble of getting me a gift of recognition 
of the lands of Sandside, and am informed your Lordship stopped it on 
Daren's account. I assured your Lordship at Edinburgh that 1 had no 
design against Duren any manner of way, which Sir George Sinclair 
knows very well, but against Sandside ; and I expect your Lordship will 
be pleased to get me the said signater past, and send it to Mr. James, 
your son : and if I don't satisfy him fully on that head, I shant desire it. 
My Lord, the only reason I ask this gift for is, to be my security in case 
I buy any debts against that estate ; for if any other should get it 
aftenvards, my right will prove null." 

Tarbet, who was bitterly hostile to General Hugh Mackay of Scoury, 
as the Memoirs of the said general show, did nothing to further 
Reay's project regarding Sandside, which thus failed. But the above 
serves to show how keenly Reay was set upon the re-establishment of 
his house. 

Although the Highlands were subdued in 1690 by General 
Mackay 's policy of forts and blockhouses, such as had embarked their 
all and lost severely in support of the Stuart cause continued their 
adherence, gambler-like hugging the hope that by rooting themselves 
to the same old table their lost fortunes might be recovered. These 
thorough-paced Jacobites endeavoured to fan the flame of national 
discord wherever it made its appearance, and they were not without 


1715] opportunities. The haughty, silent bearing of King William during 

the Darien trouble raised a fierce spirit of resentment throughout 
Scotland, and the union of the Parliaments of England and Scotland 
in 1707 was bitterly received by many in the northern part of the 
island who had fought against the Jacobites. The Cameronian 
Covenanters of the west loathed the union, because of their hatred of 
Prelacy, from which they had suffered so much. So excited did they 
become that some of them took up arms, and for a time wandered 
about aimlessly in search of a victim whereupon to wreak their 
vengeance. When they discovered that this was playing into the 
hands of the Jacobites they stopped, inwardly groaning. 

Before the two countries had time to settle down under one 
Parliament, Queen Ann died, 1st August, 1714, leaving no issue. 
The crown passed once more to a foreign-born descendant of the 
Scottish kings, George I., a Hanoverian, and great-grandson of James 
VI., who was chosen because he happened to be a Protestant. 
Ignorant of British politics and methods of government, the new king- 
did not act with sufficient prudence at the beginning. Looking upon 
the responsible officials of the late queen as hostile, he showed them 
scant ceremony, curtly dismissing the Earl of Mar, Secretary of State 
for Scotland. The proud and powerful earl threw himself into the 
arms of the rejoicing Jacobites, and though he remained at Court for 
about a twelvemonth thereafter, was in secret correspondence with 
the Chevalier de St. George. In August, 1715, Mar suddenly set out 
for the north, and on pretence of holding a hunting expedition in the 
forest of Mar dispatched invitations to the northern Jacobite leaders, 
who mustered in considerable strength. The usual lavish promises of 
French aid in men, money, and arms made such an impression upon 
the excited Highland imagination, that the Chevalier was proclaimed 
King James VIII., and his standard flung to the winds. 

The plan of campaign was to capture Edinburgh, and then push 
on south into England ; but the Government acted rapidly, and Mar 
did not. The charge of the south of Scotland was put into the hands 



of a very capable man, the Earl of Argyle, who fastened on Stirling 
Bridge to bar Mar's march southward, while he used the utmost expedi- 
tion to raise more men and means. The Earl of Sutherland, another 
capable man who had served in the Flanders War, was appointed 
Lord Lieutenant of the six northern counties of Caithness, Sutherland, 
Ross, Cromarty, Inverness, Nairn, and Moray, with a commission to 
raise all the fencible men within these shires who could be got to 
serve the Government of King George. The Earl of Sutherland, who 
happened to be in London at the time, starting for the north and 
reaching Dunrobin Castle by boat on the 28th September, put his 
commission of Lieutenancy into immediate execution. From Caith- 
nessshire the earl got no assistance, so far as we are aware. The 
wily Glenorchy, who had much power in Caithness then, like his 
clansman of Breadalbane hung off to see which side came out on the 
top. But Lord Reay, Ross of Balnagown, Munro of Fowlis, Forbes 
of Culloden, and Grant of Strathspey heartily responded to the Earl 
of Sutherland's call. 

In the far north the perplexing problem for a time was the 
attitude of the young and hotdieaded Scaforth. His mother, his 
countess, and some of his other relatives did their best to restrain him, 
but all in vain. Seaforth was too weak to resist the blandishments 
of the Mar emissaries, who puffed him up by the prospect of rivalling 
the fame of Dundee or Montrose in the former risings. Now that 
Seaforth had openly cast in his lot with the Jacobites in arms, it 
became of the utmost importance to prevent him from joining Mar as 
long as possible, and thus stop a rush to the south before Argyle was 
ready to give battle. Till Seaforth with the Mackenzies, the 
Macdonalds of Clanranald, the Macleods of Lewis, the Mackinnons, 
the Macraes, Frasers, etc. came south, Mar would not venture to 
advance, however much he may have fretted at the delay. 

The Earl of Sutherland grasped the situation and acted with 
promptitude. Within a week after his arrival at Dunrobin he set out 
for Tain, with 400 of his tenants, where he found Reay with 500 


1715] Mackays, and Balnagown with 200 Rosses awaiting him — they had 

no arms for more men even though they had more time to assemble 
them. Of the Mackays the man with most military experience was 
Captain Hugh of Borley, Constable of Ruthven Castle during the 
rising under Dundee. The force which mustered at Tain, however, 
was very badly equipped, as the vessel which was chartered to bring patten's 
arms and ammunition fell into the hands of one of the lieutenants of 
Macintosh of Borlum, at Burntisland. Many had no muskets, and 
some were only armed with rude pikes in the shape of poles pointed 
with an iron head. But they pushed on to Alness as they were, for 
it was necessary to threaten the Seaforth lands in order to delay the 
southward march of the Mackenzies. At Alness, where they 
entrenched, they were joined by the Munros. and obtained possession 
of six small cannon dispatched from a frigate lying in Cromarty Firth. 
The combined forces under Sutherland posted at Alness numbered 
about 1800 men. 

As soon as Seaforth was joined at Brahan Castle by Sir Donald 
Macdonald with about 700 men, he set out for Alness with about 
3000 men, 500 of whom were horsemen, reaching the latter place 
early on the morning of Monday, 10th October, to find that Suther- 
land had retired the proceeding day. Sutherland fearing a turning 
movement by Seaforth 's cavalry sped back to Tain, and gathering all 
the boats on the south side of Dornoch Firth ferried his force over to 
the further side. Of course, Seaforth in his account of the campaign seaforth mss. 

in Brit. Mrs. 

makes merry over the retreat of the northmcn, and they have been 
severely lampooned in the Gaelic song Caberfeidh, in praise of the 
Mackenzies ; but the retreat was a clever piece of strategy. To 
manoeuvre an ill-trained and half-armed host of Highlanders in 
retreat, without confusion or material loss, showed marked military 
ability. And that is what was done at Alness. Not one of the six 
cannon was lost ; every one was safely restored to the frigate at 
Cromarty, on Seaforth 's own showing. Again, every available boat 
on the Tain side of Dornoch Firth Mas promptly secured and brought 


to the north side, so that the enemy could not follow. This proves 
that there was no panic. 

Aeneas Sage, afterwards minister of Lochcarron, who was in the 
Royalist camp at Alness on the morning of the retreat, meeting Lord 
Reay expressed his sorrow at the idea of retiring without coming to 
domestic!"'* Wows. " What you say young man may be true," replied the 
sagacious nobleman ; " but is it not better to make a wise retreat than 
a foolish engagement ? " Nobly spoken ! The advance to Alness 
having served its purpose in detaining Seaforth, the wisest and 
most humane course now was to retire, in order that the men might be 
properly armed, as they were shortly afterwards. We shall soon see 
Seaforth in retreat, and the northmen with proper arms in their hands 
clamouring for a battle which he refuses to abide. 1 Such is war ! 

Seaforth now set free sped south, and leaving a garrison at 
Inverness hastened to join Mar. With their united forces they gave 
battle to Argyle at Sheriffnmir, 14th November, and failed in their 
object. Very soon thereafter Seaforth sped backwards ; but mean- 
time Forbes of Culloden, Grant, and Lovat captured Inverness, and 
were joined by Sutherland and Mackay. When the crest-fallen 
Seaforth approached Inverness, 200 Sutherlands, 150 Mackays, 300 
Grants, 150 Munros, and 50 of Culloden's men set out to give him 
battle, 26 December, as it was reported that he intended to recapture 
that town. But Seaforth avoided them and made his way back to 
Brahan, while the pursuing force halted at Castle Downie, near 
Beauly, until Sutherland himself came up with more troops. Then 
crossing the Beauly water on the ice with about 1600 men, they were 
met by messengers from the Dowager Lady Seaforth promising the 
submission of her son. Seaforth, however, did not submit, he passed 
over to the Lews and made his way to France. To France also fled 
Mar and some of the other Jacobite leaders. 

As the country was in a very unsettled state, the Mackays, 

1. A modern writer, D. Murray-Rose, referring to the Alness retreat, permits himself to 
describe Lord Reay, as one "who, in turning his back upon the foe, followed the hereditary 
custom in his family." If this be not prejudice gone mad, we do not know what to call it ! 


1719] Sutherlands, and some of the other loyal clans, remained for a 

considerable time under arms holding the discontented in check. 
Some of the Mackays proceeded to Badenoch, others were quartered 
at Fort Augustus, and one company under Ensign Hugh Mackay 
garrisoned Brahan Castle. 1 

In 1/18 war broke out between Britain and Spain of which the 
Jacobites made use, or rather in which tools were made of them. 
Cardinal Alberoni, the Spanish minister, endeavoured to make a 
diversion by dispatching a force to Scotland, which landed at 
Lochalsh, in the west of Ross, toward the close of April, 1719. The 
Spaniards were joined by Clanranald, Lochiel, Mackinnon, Chisholm, 
and Seaforth with a considerable body of men, but the rising was 
soon crushed. On the 4th June, Ensign Hugh Mackay, in charge of 
the garrison at Brahan, was ordered to join General Wightmau at 
Inverness, with "80 of his best men." On the 8th, General 
Wightman passed Fort Augustus with about 1600 men, and on the 
10th June completely defeated the rebels at Glensheil, capturing most 
of the Spaniards. 

In the battle of Glenshiel the Mackays and Sutherlands, who 
were posted on the right wing as the plan of battle shows, pushed up soc, vol. ia 
the steep mountain side in grand style notwithstanding the hot fire of 
the enemy. Lord Strathnaver writes General Wightman, 1.3th June, 
congratulating him on " so glorious an action," and proceeds to say 
how pleased he was to hear that the Sutherlandshire militia had done 
their duty. Thereafter " his Lordship wrote several letters in favour 
of Ensign Hugh Mackay," who seems to have particularly dis- suthr. bk. 
tinguishcd himself that day. 2 

The religious progress and condition of Strathnaver now demands 
our attention. Up to the Reformation the countries of Strathnaver, 

1. For our account of the Mar rebellion we are indebted to the Earl of Sutherland's account of 
his campaign in the Sutherland Book, the Seaforth MSS., and the Lovat MSS. 

2. Hugh Mackay, son of the Hon. Charles of Sandwood, afterwards got a commission in 
General Oglethorpe's regiment, and rose to the rank of major. He acted on the staff of General 
Oglethorpe during the Spanish invasion of Georgia in 1742, and during the rising of '15 was very 
serviceable in organising the men of Sutherland and Strathnaver. 


Sutherland, and Caithness formed one diocese, and from that date up 
to the Revolution Settlement in 1688 continued to be one 
ecclesiastical unit, alternately Presbyterian and Prelatic in accordance 
with the well known see-saw supremacy of bishop and presbyter. 
Not long after 1688, the country of Sutherland was disjoined into a 
separate Presbytery ; but Caithness and Strathuaver remained united 
until 1/25, when the latter was erected into the Presbytery of Tongue, 
very much through the influence of Lord Reay. For more than one 
hundred years after the Reformation, religion seems to have been very 
much at a discount throughout Strathuaver, which in this respect 
resembled many another district in the Highlands. But in 1688 the 
strong Protestant Presbyterianism of General Hugh Mackay of Scoury, 
imbibed in Holland, began to tell upon his countrymen, and thence- 
forward with growing enthusiasm they continued to adhere to that 
form of religion. The impulse given by the general was reinforced 
later on by his Lordship, whose early education in a pronouncedly 
religious family, in Holland, told effectually. So greatly changed did 
the people become, that in 1750, two years after his Lordship's death, 
a Government official or spy reported : — 

" The common people of the McKays are the most religious of all the 

tribes that dwell among the mountains, south or north Of 

old, they were reckon'd the most barbarous and wicked of all the clans ; 
tAiros ofscot. hut they were effectually civiliz'd in the time of the late Lord Reae, to 
XN1750. which Lieutenant General Mackay, a man of eminent virtue and merit, 
contributed not a little The McKays abhor thieving." 

The Mackays did not abhor thieving once upon a time ; three 
generations earlier they were adepts 1 at the business of " lifting," but 
the influence of one good man in a long life-time brought about this 
great improvement. 

1. About the middle of the Naver valley, and leading to the east, there is a pass called Bealach 
nan Creach, Pass of Spoils, equally suitable for a raid upon Sutherland or Caithness. Bealach 
nam Mearlach, Pass of Thieves, some distance further up the valley, opens in the direction of the 
Machair of Sutherland only, and consequently was not such a favourite. The old time freebooting 
proclivities of the Strathuaver man are crystallized in his own pithy Gaelic proverb: — 

" Thar gach bealach— Bealach nan Creach." 
Best of passes— the Pass of Spoils. 


1719-21] Sage in Memorabilia Domestica informs us that at the settlement 

of the Revd. John Mackay, minister at Lairg, in 1714, "the 

inhabitants were plunged in ignorance and superstition 

the churchyard, even on the Sabbath, often exhibited scenes of 
violence and bloodshed." His account of the parishes of Lochcarron 
and Reay, the one in Ross and the other in Caithness, is drawn with 
an equally lurid pen, but we must recollect that Sage was not a 
contemporary. In a notarial copy, however, of the marriage settle- 
ment of William, Lord Strathnavcr, and Catherine Morrison, 4th 
October, 1705, preserved among the Reay Papers, one item of 
provision was : — " All and hail the free burgh of barony of Inverbrora, 
with ane weekly merket upon the sabbath day, and four fairs yearly." 
If we may understand this to mean that a merket was held at Brora 
every Lord's Day, and we do not know what other meaning to attach 
to it, the situation in 1750 indicated nothing less than a social 
revolution as contrasted with that in 1705. 

In 1719, Lord Reay, who was an elder of the Kirk, applied to the 
General Assembly for assistance to furnish his people with clergymen 
and schoolmasters, as the teinds were exhausted. His proposal was 
to divide the large parish of Durness into three parishes, viz., Tongue, 
Durness, and Ederachilis, to provide each of these parishes with a 
minister and a schoolmaster, to settle an unordained minister at 
Achness in the parish of Farr, and to erect the various parishes of 
Strathnaver into a separate Presbytery. 

The Assembly cordially received his proposal, but did nothing that 
year, so far as we know. Meantime his Lordship was not idle ; he 
took up the matter with enthusiasm and wrote to several like-minded 
people for support. The following letter, dated 16th March, 1721, 
from the Revd. D. MacKilligan, minister of Alness, and chaplain to 
the Lords of Sutherland and Reay during the Mar rebellion, is a 
specimen of some of the replies which he got. 

" My Lord :— The proposition you have in view is so necessary, so 
pious, and altogether worthy of yourself, that I am persuaded it will meet 



Eeav Papers. 

No. 50. 

Keay Papers 

with all due encouragement from every good man. I am very certain 
that not only our Presbytery, but likewise the whole Synod will use the 
utmost diligence for making it effectual. Mr. Stuart of Inverness is with 
me at writing of this, and offers your Lordship his congratulations with 
his services.'' 

At the meeting of the General Assembly in May, 1721, the 
various congregations of the Kirk throughout Scotland were 
recommended to make a collection towards the erection of the new 
parishes in Strathnaver, and for this end a sum of 26000 merks was 
raised before the Assembly met in 1724. At this latter meeting the 
thanks of the Church were conveyed to his Lordship in very warm 
terms by the Moderator, the Revd. Wra. Wishart. 

When the Assembly met in 1725, authority was given to erect the 
Presbytery of Tongue, which was accordingly done. At the same 
time, the Moderator, the Revd. J. Alston, was instructed to con- 
gratulate his Lordship in name of the Kirk, and wrote as follows : — 

" My Lord, for such great and good services all that love our Lord 
Jesus Christ, whether ministers or christians, will surely honour your 
Lordship's name and keep it in perpetual remembrance, as far as the 
knowledge of what you have done can spread. And the blessing of many 
souls that are now ready to perish will be upon your Lordship and your 
family &c." 

For the new erections his Lordship not only gave free sites and 
glebes, but out of his own pocket made good a deficiency of £1280 
Scots, which was incurred in extra building. A full and very 
interesting account of expenditure in connection with these buildings 
is preserved in the Reaij Papers. It appears that there were, both at 
Tongue and at Durness, an old church and manse roofed with divot, 
but the new buildings were roofed with slate. The new buildings at 
Edera chilis, however, were roofed with divot and heather. The 
wages of a labourer or " piner " was at the rate of " 1/ and 2 pecks 
meal, weekly, with 2/ to buy shoes, 1 ye boll of meal at ye rate of £6 

1. The allowance for shoes, which is constantly made to labourers, would seem to indicate that 
the common people went barefoot for the most part. The same was true in other parts of the 
Highlands at that period. 


1734-40] Scots." The masons were paid at the rate of "3s. and 2 pecks meal 
and 6£d. worth of cheese, weekly." Each church was provided with 
"a sand-glass and baptism font at 7s. 6d." An item at Ederachilis 
was "to thatching ye kirk with heather and ye manse with divot and 
fern, £1." The stipends of the new erected charges were as follows : 
—at Tongue £48 8s. lOd. ; at Durness £42 16s. 8d. ; at Ederachilis 
£43 10s. 

It has often been observed that when the energies of a strong 
people are directed into a religious channel, at a certain stage of 
civilization, they run into excess unless properly guided. This proved 
to be the case in Strathnaver. The forced settlement at Farr, in 
1734, of the Revd. John Skeldoch was vehemently opposed by a 
considerable body of the parishoners, who broke away from his 
ministrations. Their chief objection to him was excessive worldliness, 
which seems to have increased after his settlement among them. 1 At 
anyrate, so dissatisfied did many of the people become that they 
absented themselves from Church ordinances, and instituted fellowship 
meetings throughout the parish. 

A leader of the disaffected party in the heights of the parish was 
Robert Mackay, tacksman of Halmadary, and grandson of the 
Covenanting lady, Mrs. Fearn of Pitcalion, who during the killing- 
times fled to Strathnaver, as already recorded in this memoir. 
Halmadary statedly assembled the people at his own house and 
taught them, but under his frenzied exhortations, based upon 
figurative and fanciful interpretations of Scripture, they grew insanely 
fanatical. The people met on a certain day, were addressed by 

1. Durinp; the ministry of Mr. Skeldoch, which lasted until his death in 1753, the religious 
interests of the parish of Farr suffered severely, as the Records of Presbytery show. He became 
tacksman of Syre, Ravigill, Borgybeg, the Water of IJorgy, etc., rackrentiug his sub-tenants so 
notoriously, that in 1748 he was suspended by the Synod after a prolonged Presbyterial dealing. 
The heritors of the parish, the Earl of Sutherland and Mackay of Strathy, countenanced him too 

Mr. Skeldoch, who was minister at Kilmonivag, near Fort William, before his translation to 
Fan-, tlid not enjoy a bed of roses in Lochaber either. In 1725, he took a derelict farm near Fort 
William, but "the'former possessor lay still till the minister had stocked the farm with cattle, and 
built a house on it, then with some other rogues went to the place where the calves were kept, and 

with their durks cut off their heads But finding that this did not force the 

minister to leave the place, they waited an opportunity of his being from home when a company 
of them went well-armed, surrounded his house, pulled down a part of it, and fired several shots 
towards the bed where his wife lay." : — The Highland* of Scotland in 1750. 



Halmadary on Abraham's intended sacrifice of Isaac — a favourite 
theme of his — when preacher and hearers became so excited that it 
was seriously decided to sacrifice the tacksman's infant son, there and 
then, at his father's fireside. An altar of wood was built on the 
hearth and the child was being prepared for immolation, when 
opportunely a travelling merchant called at the house, and, by his 
strongly expressed abhorrence of their intended deed, broke the spell. 
Those present fled to their homes in shame ; and to this day that 
meeting is spoken of throughout the north of Sutherland with bated 
breath, as Tuiteam Hahnadairi, Lapse of Halmadary. 1 This happened 
about 1740, and is incidentally referred to in a minute of Presbytery, 
dated 2nd March, 1749, as the "melancholy scene that happened 
several years ago in one of these unauthorised meetings at Halmadary." 
For some years before the rebellion of 1745, there was a coolness 
between the families of Sutherland and Reay. In 1737 they disputed 
about the estate marches in the neighbourhood of Ben Hee, and 
though the matter was submitted to arbitration the arrangement 
broke down. This disagreement led to political rivalry as to the 
Parliamentary representation of the county, during which Sutherland 
and Reay created faggot voters not a few. The political warfare 
raged from 1741 to 1744, but when the thunderclouds of civil war 
began to gather in '45, Lord Reay, who had already lived through 
three such national convulsions, realising the imperative necessity of 
united action on the part of those who were friendly to the existing 
Government, made fraternal overtures to the Earl of Sutherland 
through his son, the Hon. George Mackay. On the 1st July, 1745, 
Reay wrote to the Earl of Sutherland : — 

" I heartily wish that all our differences were buryed in oblivion, and 

to that end I have made some proposals which I think are equal and 

appendix honourable, and for the real interest of your Lordship s family, as well as 

my own, and which my son George will lay before you whenever your 

Lordship pleases." 

1. We understand that such a sacrifice was actually offered up in Germany, during the 
excesses of the Feasants' War, and shortly after the Lutheran Reformation. 

No. 52 


1745] The proposal was a Bond of Friendship, which Lord Iteay signed 

on the 18th and the Earl of Sutherland on the 26th July. The 
object of the Bond is set forth thus : — 

" To secure our acting with mutual harmony and uniting the whole 
strength of both our families and adherents, so as to be able in any public 
danger to render the more considerable and effectual service to his present APPENDIX 
Majesty, King George the Second, for supporting the succession in the no. 53. 
Protestant line of his most illustrious house, and for securing the present 
happy establishment in Church and State, and for defeating the designs 
of his Maj's. enemies both open and secret. We do for these and many 
other weighty considerations mutnallie agree, and by the sacred tie and 
pledge of our word and honour on both sides, Bind and oblige ourselves 
and our families and followers to each other." 

From further correspondence, it seems that some of Sutherland's 
friends endeavoured to sow discord 1 between the two families, for 
Reay writes on the 24th August: — 

"I reckon the many letters your Lordship is pleased to acquaint me 
you get against your joining in friendship with me a double tye on me, to gUTHR BK 
exert my.-elf all in my power on every occasion to make you as easy as I vol. ii. 
can, to convince you of my sincerity and readyness to support your 
honour and interest, and thereby to show others how far they are 
mistaken, for your Lordship will still find me your best friend." 

Reay proceeds, "1 have followed your Lordship's example as to listing 
men, but without arms and amunition w r e can do very little." And he 
adds the postscript, "I hope your Lordship will reserve some powder and 
lead for me, for which I'll pay the value, and share with me when you 
get any arms. I'm informed this minute that Major Mackay [Riarchar] is 
called for to London. Your Lordship should write to the Duke of 
Argyle to get him returned to us, as he'l be very useful 2 as matters go." 

From information which reached Lord Reay as to the movements 
of Macdonald of Barisdalc, he dispatched a force to the head of Loch 
Shin in order to bar the pass, and urged the Earl of Sutherland to 

1. The author of The Highlands of Scotland in 1750 reports, "The pity is the present Earl [of 
Sutherland] should be so weak a man." 

2. " The Mackays are said to be a better militia than any of the neighbouring clans, for which 
this is assigned as a reason that several officers of this clan in the Dutch service obtained the 
Lord Reay's countenance to recruit in his country upon this express condition that they should 
return the men after being a certain number of years in the service, and take raw men in then- 
room." : — The Highlands of Scotland in 1750. 


send them assistance. Reay also dispatched a force to guard the 
passes of Ederachilis, apprehensive of an attack from that quarter 
by the Mackenzies and the Macleods of Assint. As the Records of 
the Presbytery of Tongue show, the people of Assint were disaffected, 
and some years before the '45 Lady Assint was so strongly suspected 
of Papistical leanings that the Presbytery had once and again to deal 
with her. 

Meantime Captain the Hon. Alexander Maekay, who had lost 
touch with Sir John Cope, struck off towards Aberdeen, took ship 

reay papers. ail( l reached his general just before the battle of Prestonpans, at 
which Maekay was taken prisoner but soon released on parole. 
While the Pretender lay at Edinburgh preparing for his advance into 
England, President Forbes was busy in the north organising the 
loyalists, and on the 8th October was joined by General Loudon, who 
assumed command of any troops that could be got together. At the 
request of President Forbes, both Sutherland and Reay sent levies to 
Loudon at Inverness, as also did Grant, Seaforth, Munro, etc., but this 
militia was by no means enthusiastic and desertions were common. 
Of Captain Gunn's company almost every man deserted, but Gunn's 
loyalty was suspected. 

With these troops Loudon went as far as Fort Augustus, and 
returning apprehended, at Castle Downie, Simon, Lord Lovat, who 

sithk. bk. ' iac ' been playing a double game. A few days thereafter, on 12th 
December, Lieutenant William Maekay, whom we take to be Maekay 
of Melness, sent a graphic account of the capture of Lovat to the 
Earl of Sutherland. Before the close of December another company 
of Mackays, under Captain the Hon. George Maekay, started from 
Tongue for Inverness, as appears from an entry in the Records of the 
Presbytery of Tongue, dated 25th December. The contents of the 
letter which the Presbytery sent to Loudon by (he hands of Captain 
Maekay are not recorded. 

On the Pretender's return to Inverness after the failure of his 
expedition into England, General Loudon and President Forbes fell 

Vol. ii., 


1746] back towards the north, pursued by Lord George Murray, the Duke 

of Perth, the Earl of Cromartie, Barisdale, etc., who managed to get 
across Dornoch Firth and to capture Dunrobin Castle. Loudon and 
Forbes escaped to Skye, Sutherland in a fishing boat made his way 
aboard a frigate, and the militia fled to the hills. About the 
beginning of April, 1746, Cromartie's son, Lord Macleod, by the 
orders of the Prince set out for Caithness, where he collected the 
revenues and endeavoured to raise recruits, his headquarters being 
Thurso. By his own account, Macleod had little success in his efforts crohartiebk: 
to raise the Sinclair's — only one gentleman with about 30 ill-armed 
followers turned up at the place of muster, Spittal Hill. This 
gentleman was Sinclair of Scotscalder, whose estate was afterwards 

The Sinclairs of Caithness, however, were strongly Jacobite, but 
the evident failure of the Pretender on his expedition to Derby 
damped their enthusiasm, and Cromartie's account may not be strictly 
accurate in consequence of his own failure. The author of The 
Highlands of Scotland in 1750 reports : — 

That the Caithness men had " four or five hundred in readiness to 
join Sir James Stuart of Burrous, from the Orkneys. . . . They 
were in arms about the middle of April but the news of the battle of 
Culloden spoilt their parade, and made them sneak home again. . . . 
Besides it was discovered, that some of the Sinclairs had corresponded 
with disaffected persons at Edinburgh, two years before the rebellion 
broke out, and had not the lords Sutherland and Beae been in their way, 
they had in all likelyhood been out among the first of the rebels." 

While Lord Macleod was at Thurso, in which there was, by the 
way, "a Jacobite meeting house till after the battle of Culloden," he 
was joined by the men of Lochbroom under the brother of Mackenzie 
of Ballone. Macleod made an attempt to invade Strathnaver by way 
of Drumholstein, but finding that the Mackays were prepared to 
contest the passage did not persist. The opposing party was probably lBID- 
under the command of the Hon. Hugh Mackay of Bighouse. Macleod 
theii'crossed the Ord and rejoined his father at Dunrobin. 


While these things were going on, an event of prime importance 
took place in the neighbourhood of Tongue. The Hazard, a French 
ship carrying treasure for the Prince to the amount of 12,500 guineas, 
ran into the Kyle of Tongue pursued by a British frigate, on the 
evening of the 25th March. Through the night the crew and soldiers 
disembarked carrying the money, but next day Captain the Hon. 
George Mackay met them near Drum Nan Coup, and after a smart 
fight captured both men and treasure. The London Gazette of the 
15th April, 1746, reports as follows: — 

"Aberdeen, April 6. Captain Mackay, Lord Reay's son, and Sir 
Henry Munro, son of the late Sir Robert, both Captains in Lord Loudon's 
regiment, are just come hither with letters from Captain O'Brian of The 
Sheerness man of war, now off this place, giving an account that after 
chasing the Hazard sloop (called by the French the Prince Charles nowl 
above 56 leagues, he drove her ashore and obliged the French and 
Spaniards who were in her to quit her and to land, which they did with 
five chests of money to the value of ,£12,000 and upwards, in order to 
join the rebels ; but the Lord Reay in whose country they were landed, 
and at whose house Captain Mackay, Sir Henry Munro, Lord [1 Captain] 
Charles Gordon, and Captain Macleod with some others of Lord Loudon's 
regiment were, with about 80 men of said regiment, who had been driven 
thither by the rebells, marched out and attacked them, and after killing 
three or four, and dangerously wounding eight, took the remaining 156, 
officers, soldiers, and sailors prisoners, who were immediately embarked 
on board the Sheerness, and the prize with the Highland officers and men 

who made the capture are now here The money that was 

landed out of the Hazard sloop, was taken by Lord Reay's men.'' 

Perhaps the most accurate account of this incident is that reported 
in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1746, and from which we give the 
following extract : — 

"Edinburgh, April 9, 1746. Lord Reay who arrived at Leith yester- 
day gave the following account of the taking of the above ship [the 
Hazard]. On the 25th of March, the Hazard sloop was observed by Lord 
Reay and his people sailing up the Tongue bay, and was soon followed by 
Captain O'Brien in the Sheerness, who immediately attacked her. In the 
engagement the Hazard sloop had several men killed besides a good many 
wounded, and not being able to maintain the fight, she ran ashore at the 
shallows, where the Sheerness could not follow, and there landed her men 


1746] and money. Lord Reay's son, with some other officers, gathered what 

men they could together, attacked those that had landed from the Hazard 
sloop, and after killing five of them, took the rest prisoners and seized the 
money, said to be 12,500 guineas; but one chest of it was amissing, and 
another broke. Lord Reay and his friends being apprehensive of a visit 
from the rebels, embarked with the treasure 1 and prisoners, and arrived 
on Sunday night at Aberdeen with the Hazard sloop ; and in passing the 
Orkneys Captain O'Brien brought the Boston ship that was treacherously 
seized by Captain Sinclair for the rebels." 

To the impoverished troops of the Prince, who lacked the bare 
necessaries of life on the eve of fateful battle, the loss of this money 
must have been a terrible blow. Had this gold come into their 
possession, Cumberland would have met on Culloden Moor a well-fed 
instead of a starving Highland army, and the issue of the conflict 
would probably have been different. 

A few days before Culloden, Cromartie got orders to rejoin the 
Prince at Inverness with all his forces, but as he was marching 
towards the Little Ferry Ensign John Mackay with a handful of men scthk. bk. 
intrepidly attacked him. Mackay 's boldness encouraged others of the 
Sutherland militia, who were in the hills near at hand, to take part in 
the affray, with the result that Cromartie was defeated and all his 
troops were either killed or captured. Mackay pistol in hand forced 
his way into Dunrobin Castle, into which Cromartie fled, and 
notwithstanding the efforts of the Countess of Sutherland, who was 
suspected of favouring the rebels and especially Cromartie, made a 
prisoner of the earl whom he found hiding under a bed. 

These two affairs, in which the Mackays played such an important 
part, the one at Tongue and the other at the Little Ferry, had more 
to do with the overthrow at Culloden than is generally realized. By 
the former the money supplies of the Prince were cut off, and by the 
latter much needed help in men was intercepted. The victor of the 
Little Ferry was Ensign John Mackay of Mudale, whose genealogy 

1. It is locally believed that some of the gold was thrown by the discomfited Frenchmen into 
Loch Hakon before they surrendered, and undoubtedly pieces of French gold have been found from 
time to time along its shore, but we do not think that much of the treasure was lost in that way. 
The reader should also consult the traditional account of this affair as given in The House and Clan 
of Mackay. 


we give in our account of the Aberach Mackays. It must have been 
Mudale, for he was the only Mackay of the name of John who held 
the rank of Ensign during the '45, as the Reay Papers and Registers 
of Deeds show. 

As has already been observed. Lord Reay proceeded to Leith on 
board the frigate Sheerness, and seems to have remained in the south 
appendix until the following autumn. His letter of 2nd September, 1746, to a 
Government official anent the settlement of the Highlands after 
Culloden, is characteristic of the man. After suggesting various 
remedial measures, he urges upon the authorities the necessity of 
erecting new churches and of spreading the Gospel among the 
disaffected, for the efficacy of these civilizing means, he says, he proved 
in his own country. The well known couplet in Wyntoun's 

" He illumynd in his dayis 
The landys with kyrkis," 

may with good reason be applied to his Lordship, for he devoted the 
last thirty years of his life to the fostering of religion and education, 
as the Records of Tongue Presbytery amply prove. And to this day 
his memory is revered among the people as Am Morair Mor, the great 
lord. A cultured gentleman and a Fellow of the Royal Society, Lord 
Reay died at Tongue on the 21st March, 1748, and was laid to rest in 
the family vault within the church there. He was thrice married. 
His first wife was Margaret (contract dated at Bomell, Holland, 
December, 1702), daughter of General Hugh Mackay of Scoury, by 
whom he had one son : — 

i. Donald, 4th Lord Eeay, of whom an account follows. 

His second wife was Janet, daughter of John Sinclair of Ulbster, 
Caithness, who bore him a son and a daughter : — 

ii. Hugh Mackay of Bighouse, Lieutenant-Colonel of the first 
Sutherland regiment, married (contract 15 July, 1728) Elizabeth, 


eldest daughter and co-heiress of George Mackay of Bighouse, 
and had sasine of the estate of Bighouse or Strathhalladale, 
28th February, 1742. In our account of the Bighouse Mackays 
we give further particulars. 

Hi. Ann, who died 24th November, 1780, married John Watson of 
Muirehouse, Edinburghshire, contract dated 7th September, 
1725. Their issue was two sons and a daughter : — 

1. Robert Watson of Muirehouse, Lieutenant-Colonel of the 

25th Foot, with whom he served in Germany. He 
became Deputy Quarter-Master-General of the Forces in 
North Britain, 1758; Aide-de-Camp to the king, 176S; 
and died a Lieutenant-General at Aberdeen, 10th May, 

2. George Watson, Captain in the Royal Navy, died 

unmarried in 1771. 

3. Janet Watson, married (4th April, 1750) Alexander 

Bocheid of Inverleith, Edinburgh, and of Darnchester in 
Berwick. They had three children : — James Bocheid of 
Inverleith, died 1823 ; John Bocheid, an officer in the 
Scots Greys, died unmarried in 1779 ; and Mary Rocheid, 
died unmarried, 1776. 

Lord Reay married, thirdly, Mary (contract 28th March, 1718), 
daughter of John Dowell, W.S., Edinburgh, and by her had two sons 
and four daughters : — 

iv. George Mackay, an advocate, who inherited Skibo 1 from his 
maternal uncle, Patrick Doull of AVinterfield — Doull had sasine 
of Skibo, 28th September, 1744. Mackay took an active part 
in putting down the rebellion of the '45, was elected M.P. for 
the county of Sutherland in 1747, and again in 1754. He 
was appointed Master of the Mint for Scotland, 2nd August, blk. MS. 
1756, and eventually disposed of Skibo. He married Ann 
(13th September, 1766), daughter of Eric Sutherland, eldest 
son of the attainted Lord Duffus, and by her had five sons 
and four daughters : — 

1. George, died in the East Indies, 1790. 

2. Eric, 7th Lord Beay, of whom afterwards. 

3. Alexander, 8th Lord Beay, of whom afterwards. 

1. Skibo, which was Church property before and after the Reformation, came eventually into 
the possession of a family of Grays. During the first half of the 18th century Gray got into 
financial difficulties, and the estate passed from hand to hand under heavy mortgages. Doull or 
Dowell bought it in 1744, but it does not appear that he cleared away the encumbrances, so that 
the estate "came to Mackay heavily burdened, and continued in that condition so long as he 
retained it. 



4. Donald, Captain of the Royal Navy in 1806, appointed to 

the Mallacca frigate on the East India station in 1814, 
and reappointed in 1831 to the Revenge of 78 guns. In 
January, 1848, he was appointed Admiral on the Irish 
station, and in 1849 became vice- Admiral of the Blue. 
He married in 1848, Ellen Martha, only child of William 
Twinning of the Bengal Medical Service, and died at 
London without issue, 26th March, 1850. 

5. Patrick, died in infancy. 

6. Elizabeth, died at Edinburgh unmarried, 10th April, 1788. 

7. Mary, died unmarried at Bath, 24th November, 1843. 

8. Harriet, died in infancy. 

9. Anne, died at Bath unmarried in September, 1849. 

v. Alexander Mackay, had an Ensign's commission in the 25th Foot 
in 1737, raised an independent company for Loudon's 
regiment in 1745, and was taken prisoner at Prestonpans. 
But. ms. He became Major of the 3rd Foot in 1750, and Colonel of 

the 52nd Foot in 1755. He became M.P. for Sutherland in 
1761, but some time thereafter went to America with his 
regiment and rose to the rank of Major-General. He was 
elected M.P. for the Northern Burghs in 1773, and appointed 
Governor of Tynemouth Fort in 1772. In 1780 he became 
Commander-in-Chief of the forces in Scotland, and Governor 
of Stirling Castle in 1788. He married in 1770, Margaret, 
daughter of Sir William Carr of Etal, Bart., and died without 
issue, 31st May, 1789. 

vi. Mary Mackay, died at Edinburgh unmarried in 1780. 

vii. Harriet Mackay, died unmarried at Eestalrig, 5th November, 1766. 

viii. Christian Mackay, married (contract 25th June, 1746) the Bev. 
John Erskine, D.D., a noted minister of Edinburgh, and son of 
John Erskine of Carnoch, author of The Institutes of the Law of 
Scotland. There was issue of this marriage. 

ix. Marion Mackay, died unmarried at Edinburgh in 1812. 



XVIII. pcmaft), ^ff) £oxb H\e<xv>. 


Vj-T'HE fourth Lord Reay finished off a liberal education at home by 
1 travel on the Continent and some sojourn with maternal 
relatives in Holland, after 1723. At this period there were 
two Mackay families domiciled in Holland, to both of which the 
young Master of Reay was closely related, viz., that of the deceased 
General Hugh of Scoury, and that of the deceased General the Hon. 
Aeneas, progenitor of the Dutch Mackays. Besides these, other 
representatives of various Strathnaver families were officers in the 
Dutch army, and as they generally secured commissions by raising a 
certain number of recruits, it is safe to conclude that there was at 
this time a little colony of Mackays in Holland. 

We drew attention in an earlier memoir to the close connection 
existing between Strathnaver and Holland, a state of matters which 
continued till well on into the second half of the 18th century. In 
the Records of the Presbytery of Tongue we often come across entries 
in which it is stated that fugitives from Church discipline, chiefly 
for breaches of the seventh commandment, are serving abroad in 
Flanders. And the ministers of the Presbytery are on such intimate 
terms with the chaplains of the regiments in which the delinquents 
are serving, that the said chaplains are duly informed of the charges 
laid against the martial swains. It appears from the Scots Brigade 
in Holland that these Scots regiments had regularly organised 
sessions, drawn up on the model of a Scots Presbyterian congregation, 



and that they cherished some of the home prejudices with true 
perfervidum ingenium Scotorum. 

In one of the Scots regiments the chaplain resolved to drop 
"taking out the line" at the singing, but Colonel Gordon objected 
and sent peremptory orders to continue the old-fashioned way of 
singing. The chaplain replies : — 

" That the new way of singing the Psalms hath been earnestly 
Scots Brigade recommended these many years past by the General Assembly, and is 
XN rn. L 29s? I> ' now practised by the greatest part of the congregations in Scotland, and 
indeed in all Protestant churches. We did not imagine that you would 
have disapproved of our proceedings, and hope that upon this 
representation, after seriously considering the matter, you will see no 
reason to do so ; and it will give us great pleasure to be informed that 
you are satisfied with our conduct, tho' as a session we conceived that we 
are only accountable to a superior Church Court." 

After prolonged bickering over this matter, the difficulty was 
overcome by transferring the innovating chaplain into another 
regiment, but the custom of " taking out the line " continues to be 
cherished in some parts of Strath naver to this day. 

In the last memoir Ave described the plantation of churches and 
the erection of the Presbytery of Tongue : we shall now endeavour to 
indicate the consequent moral development of the people, and the 
means used to this end, as these are recorded in the Records of 
Presbytery — parish records are for the most part non-existent. At 
the first meeting of Presbytery, 5th October, 1726, a minute of 
Assembly was engrossed in the Record, from which it appears that 
the parishes of Farr, Tongue, Durness, and Ederachilis, disjoined 
from the Presbytery of Caithness, and the parishes of Kildonan and 
Assint disjoined from the Presbytery of Dornoch, form the newly 
erected Presbytery. Kildonan, however, never seems to have been 
really united to Tongue, and in a few years Assint reverted to 
Dornoch, so that the Presbytery of Tongue became co-extensive with 
the country of Strathnaver eventually. 

At this first meeting of Presbytery, letters were read from the 


<&er> IgebiQxee : %i)c ^Tctcfcctus of g>tvati)navci\ 

now "gSctrons "glean. 



Barbara, dau. of=Donald Dughall, ^Elizabeth Toinsou.= Marjory Sinclair- 
Lord Kintail. | 1st Ld. Reav ; (2nd wife). | (3rd wife). 
(1st wife). d. 1649. (See p. 97). i | 
! I 

XV. lye. Isabella Sinclair. 
(1st wife). 

I I I I I I I I I 

= John, 2na=Baroara Mackay. Angus. Jane Ann. Charles. Rupert. 

cL 1080. 

(2nd wife). 

Ma )■>/. 


A quo Melness Mackavs. A quo Sandwood Mackavs* 
(See. Table G). (See Table H). 

XVI. Robert. Jane. Ann, dau. of 
Sir G. Munro 
of Culrain. 

A quo Dutch Mackavs. 
(See Table I). 

XVII. Margaret, dau. of=George, 3rd Ld. = Janet Sinclair. =Mary JDoull. 

Donald, Master .Eneas. Robert, a 
of Reav ; d. Colonel. 





General Mackay. 
(1st wife). 

Reay ; d. 1748, 

(2nd wife). 

(3rd wife). 




XVIII. Marion Dal- — Donald, 4th== Christian Hugh. Ann. George, m. Alexr. 

r vniple. 
(1st wife). 

Ld. Reay 
d. 1761. 




wife. ) 

Ann Suth- 




XIX. George, 5th= Elizabeth 

Ld. Reay . 
no issue by 
1st wife"; 
d. 1768. 


Hugh, 6th Margaret. 
Ld. Reay ; 





Eric, 7th 

1 1 1 
Alexr., 8th Donald. 

1 1 1 1 

d. s.p. 

Ld. Reay ; 

Ld. Reav ; — 


d. 1847, 

m. Marion Patrick. 



Gall ; d. 

1S63. I 



XX. Jane. Marianne. 



Eric, 9th 
Ld. Reav ; 

d. 1875, 


On his death the title passed 
to the Ditch Mackavs. 

Anne, m. Mr. 


I I I 




Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge and from " the 
Committee for the Reformation of the Highlands, containing 
directions relative to missionaries employed upon the king's bounty." 
The former society was wholly religious, but the latter committee was 
semi-political and made it its business to foster Presbyterianism, with 
a view to engender loyalty to the house of Hanover. All those 
employed by this committee must be sound Hanoverians. On 
account of the " clamant state " of Assint, " wholly destitute of any 
means of instruction," a letter was addressed by the Presbytery to the 
" Committee for the Reformation of the Highlands," craving the 
services of an itinerant preacher for the said parish. A little later, 
we read that " Lady Assint " and her friends arc Papistical and 
Jacobite. As for Durness, 

"The Presbytery finding that the parish of Durness is divided by a 
Kyle, so that there must be another preaching place besides the kirk, 
appoint that when my Lord Reay or his eldest son lives at Durness, the 
minister preach four Sabbaths in the kirk and the fifth at Westmoin;" 
but when none of the Reay family are in residence at Durness, only three 
at the kirk and the fourth at Westmoin. " And they further recommend 
him to have one discourse in English, at least each Sabbath, at Durness." 

On the 4th January, 1/2/, the Presbytery acknowledge receipt of 
" 48 copies of the Confession of Faith in Irish," from the "Committee 
for the Reformation of the Highlands," for use within their bounds. 
Not long after this, they receive from the same quarter some copies of 
the Shorter Catechism in the same language. While both the 
Church and the Reformation Committee were busily scattering 
Catechisms and Confessions of Faith throughout the Highlands, there 
is not a word about the Gaelic Bible. It was not until 1/6/ that the 
New Testament was translated into Scottish Gaelic, and we must 
come down to 1807 before the Old and New Testaments make their 
appearance in a language well understood by the Highland people. 
To us, this zeal for Catechisms and neglect of Bibles looks like 
putting the cart before the horse. 

On the 26th April, 1727, it is reported that the catechists in the 


1729-30] various parishes were as follows : — Hugh Munro, Ederachilis ; Aeneas- 
Mackay, Durness ; Donald Happy alias Sutherland, Tongue ; and 
William Mackay, Fair. And at this same time there are but three 
ruling elders in the whole Presbytery, to wit, Lord Reay, John 
Mackay of Kirtomy, and William Mackay in Gnubeg. On the 10th 
April, 1729, the catechists report that 200 in the parish of Fan - , 300 
in the parish of Tongue, 250 in the parish of Durness, and 27 in 
Assint can repeat the whole of the questions in the Shorter 
Catechism, and that many more can repeat a part. At the next 
meeting, the Farr catechist reports that in the upper part of his 
parish 250 can repeat the whole of the Catechism, "besides 140 
pretty far advanced." 

Mr. Scobie, minister of Assint, found the work very uphill in his 
parish, and is sometimes interrupted while preaching, especially by a 
" Murdo Mackenzie alias Dow." The case is referred for advice to 
the Procurator of the Kirk, who replies that by an Act of Parliament 
the delinquent is liable to the escheat of all his moveable goods, as 
well as to the highest censure of the Church. The case is then 
reported to Lord Reay, " sheriff of that part of the shire." Murdo 
Dow, evidently, had no love for Presbytery, or for the house of 
Hanover either. 

On the 19th August, 1730, the Court made enquiry regarding a 
library designed for the Presbytery seat, but which never reached its 
destination. The books were lying in the hands of the Presbytery of 
Caithness, to whom they were consigned by a society in the south 
before the Presbytery of Tongue was erected. Later on the books 
turn up, and from the catalogue which is engrossed in the Record 
they appear to be all of a theological character. Whether they were 
intended for general circulation is not said, but they w r ere very 
suitable for such a purpose. They were deposited at the Presbytery 
seat, Tongue. 

The clergy dealt very severely witli breaches of the seventh 
commandment, and in glaring cases the delinquent had to make a 


tour of all the churches of the Presbytery, standing in sackcloth 
before the congregations during Divine service. On the 12th 
October, 1731, we find this entry : — 

" The Presbytery finding that William Maconil, an adulterer in the 
parish of Fair, did stand in sackcloth in the several parishes of this 
country according to appointment and that he is desirous to be dismissed 
from further public appearance; but, considering the heinousness of his 
crime, have appointed that he continue to stand before the several 
ministers who shall supply at Farr till next Presbytery." 

Machormat, a Durness man charged with adultery, fares still 
worse. He is reported to be such a disreputable character, that he 
has been " for several other crimes threatened with banishment to the 
Plantations .... Machormat is an habitual sinner in this 
kind, having been a quadrelapse in fornication before Mr. Macdouald 
came to Durness." Eventually Machormat was excommunicated; 
and a dreadful sentence it was, for no one was permitted to have any 
dealings with such a person, so long as the sentence remained 
unrecalled. But as a rule the sentence was recalled in a few months. 
For many years before and for some time after the erection of the 
Presbytery, the sacrament of the Lord's supper was very irregularly 
and at long intervals held throughout Strath naver. For the first 
twenty-five years ot the Presbytery's existence it was administered 
only once a year within the bounds, or in other words once every four 
years in each one of the four congregations which formed the 
Presbytery. This was due to the lack of elders and to the fewness of 
the communicants, but when the members increased the people were 
slow to alter what they came by that time to look upon as an old 
custom. At these yearly gatherings, to which the people of all the 
parishes congregated at the appointed centre, the Friday before the 
celebration of the sacrament was set apart for answering difficulties 
and for instructing catechumens ; but in course of time these Friday 
disputations developed into such inter-parochial wranglings that the 
clergy endeavoured to abolish the institution. On the 14th 


1737-41] September, 1737, an Act of Synod relative to the .above is engrossed 
in the Record, and is to the following effect : — 

" That because the communicants in our bounds are by the blessing 
of God become so numerous, that their meeting all in one parish to 
partake in the sacrament of the Lord's supper is attended with several 

inconveniencies The Synod appoint that, at least in the 

Presbyteries of Caithness and Dornoch, where assistance enough can be 
got, the foresaid ordinance shall be as often as may be administered in 
two parishes on the same Lord's day. 

As also that because the meetings ordinarily kept on Friday before 
the administration of the sacrament is often inconvenient to the ministers 
. and that the main design of these meetings may be obtained 
without these inconveniences, by the people's communicating their cases- 
of conscience to their ministers at home. Therefore that the Synod 
should appoint these meetings on Friday before the sacrament to be 
forbid for the future in all the bounds of this Synod, and appoint the 
ministers before they come from home in order to assist at yt ordinance 
to give the communicants of their respective parishes opportunity of 
consulting them, about such questions or cases relative to the ordinance 
as shall be suitable to them, but that these confidences be as private as 
can be, and this to be publicly intimated to the bounds " 

The laity, however, so enjoyed the Friday freedom of speech that 
they did not forego this privilege even to please the ministers. With 
all its concomitant abuses, Friday's licence provided a necessary 
safety-valve for such as felt aggrieved, and is still an institution in 
Strathnaver. Neither did the congregations at this time agree to 
celebrate the Lord's supper oftener than they had been in the habit 
of doing. 

In the spring of 1741, so great was the scarcity of food that the 
Presbytery appointed a special collection to be made in the churches 
for the relief of the starving poor. The immediately following 
harvest, however, was such an abundant one that they appointed a 
special day of thanksgiving to God, for "giving us a plentiful harvest 
after so remarkable a dearth." 

At first the function of the catechist was simply to teach the 
Shorter Catechism, but in course of time when qualified men could be 
obtained the catechist became a schoolmaster as well. The salary of 



the catechist-schoolmaster was partly provided by the Society for 
Propagating Christian Knowledge, and partly by the congregation in 
which this functionary laboured — the amount given by the above 
society being about £6 stg. per annum. To the salary of the "Legal" 
or parish schoolmaster the heritors of the parish contributed 100 
merks a year, and the balance was made up by fees ; but the 
combined sum could not be very much. 

Sometimes the catechists, overstepping their duties, publicly 
exhorted the people on questions of doctrine, for which in many cases 
they were not fitted owing to their lack of the necessary training. In 
these excursions, fanciful and unwarranted interpretations of Scripture 
were often given to the detriment of sound doctrine and morals. To 
meet this evil, on the 2nd March, 17^9, the Presbytery resolved as 
follows : — 

"The Presbytery being weel apprised that there are in the several 
parishes some who take upon themselves to read the Scriptures and other 
books in the Irish language to the people and to solve doubts and cares of 
conscience at such meetings, and that some of them are without the 
authority or allowance of the minister of the parish, and that it is to be 
feared that such as so officiate are not well qualified for it, and the 
Presbytery remembering a melancholy scene that happened several years 
ago in one of these unauthorised meetings at Halmadary, did and do 
hereby prohibit any to convene the people to reading or conferences 
except the advice and consent of the parish minister be obtained." 

A striking fact brought out by the Presbytery Record is the large 
number of leading men throughout Strathnaver who became elders of 
the Kirk by this time. Of that number were John Mackay of 
Kirtomy, John Mackay of Mudale, the Hon. George Mackay of 
Strathmore and Skibo, the Hon. Alexander Mackay, John Mackay of 
Melness, Robert Mackay the tutor, etc. Taken along with other well 
known facts, it indicates the deep root that religion had cast into the 
country of Mackay about the middle of the 18th century. 

By Donald Master of Reay's marriage contract with Marion 
Dalrymple, 23rd August, 1/32, his father became bound to make 

Beat Papers. 


1732 41] resignation of the lands and estate, and to obtain new charters and 
infeftnients of the same in favour of himself in liferent, and to the 
said Master and his heirs male and of tallie in fee, whom failing to 
others mentioned. As this arrangement was duly and legally carried 
out, the estate became entailed. But by a subsequent arrangement 
made on the Master's second marriage, 1st October, 1/41, the estate 
was conveyed to the said Master and his heirs, whom failing to others 
mentioned, in fee simple and without any irritant clauses. This 
double arrangement, which was only intended to be temporary, put 
the inheritance into an anomalous position, as we shall see afterwards. 

By the second arrangement above mentioned, Donald the Master 
permitted his father, the third Lord Reay, to put the estate under 
trustees, in order to make provision for his large family, and this 
arrangement to continue until the specified burdens were removed or 
paid off. In consequence of this, when Donald succeeded as Lord 
Reay he found himself practically a portioner with but a divided 
control over the heritable property, and the estate (that portion of it 
not wadsetted) held in tack by his half-brother, the Hon. Hugh 
Mackay of Bighouse. It continued thus until Donald, 4th Lord 
Reay, died. 

George, 5th Lord Reay, who kicked against this arrangement 
when he came of age, describes his father as "an easy facile man, and 
altogether ignorant of business." Mrs Fullarton, grand-daughter of 
the 4th Lord Reay, describes her grandfather as one, 

" Who tho' possessing a good plain understanding', graced with all 
the accomplishments of a gentleman, derived from liberal education and REAY p APEKSi . 
foreign travel, was yet totally unacquainted with the business of ordinary 
life ; and being, from an openess of disposition, perfectly artless and 

The above description of Lord Donald is in perfect accord with 
the picture drawn by Rob Donn, 1 a Strathnaver contemporary poet, in 
an elegy to his Lordship. The poet says that his Lordship cared far 

1. See addendum to this memoir. 


more " for the image of God on a good man, than for the king's image 
on a piece of gold ; " and describing the loss which the country 
sustained by his death, he proceeds : — ■ 

" Ach cha deacli' uiread de throcair 
A chuir fo'n fhoid ri mo linn, 
'S a chaidh charadh 's an toma 
Le Morair Domhnull MacAoidh." 

Not so much of mercy was 
Gathered under the sod in my day, 
As was laid in the tomb 
Along with Lord Donald Mackay. 

As during his father's lifetime, so thereafter and until his own 
death, Lord Donald continued to reside at Balnakeil House, Durness, 
leaving the Trust estate to the management of his half-brother, 
Mackay of Bighouse. In consequence of a threatened war with 
France and the generally disturbed state of Europe in 1759, the Earl 
of Sutherland raised a Highland regiment in which Mackay of 
Bighouse held the rank of Major. This regiment was largely 
recruited in Strathnaver, and did garrison duty at Inverness, Stirling, 
Perth, Dundee, etc. It saw no active service, and was disbanded 
in 1763. 

His Lordship, who died at Durness, 18th August, 1761, and was 
buried in the family vault at Tongue, married, -first (contract 23rd 
August, 1732), Marion, daughter of Sir Robert Dalrymple of 
Castleton, son of Sir Hugh Dalrymple of North Berwick (President 
of the Court of Session), and by her, who died in 1740, had issue 
two sons : — 

i. George, 5th Lord Eeay, of whom follows. 

ii. Hugh, 6th Lord Rcay, of whom afterwards. 

He married, secondly, 21st December, 1741, Christian, daughter 
of James Sutherland of Pronsy, Sutherland, and by her, who died at 
Edinburgh in 1790, had issue two daughters: — 


Hi. Margaret, died unmarried, 18th January, 1762. 

iv. Mary, married Thomas Edgar, Major in the 25th Foot, and EEVrPu , ERS 
Inspector-General of Barracks in Great Britain. He died 
30th June, 1801, and she died 21st November, 1813. 


Rob Donn was bom of humble parents in Strathmore, parish of 
Durness, about 1714. At a very early age he entered the service of 
John Mackay of Mussel, a large cattle-dealer, and, for a time, factor 
for the third Lord Reay ; in whose employment the young poet 
travelled about a good deal and gained a considerable experience of 
the world. Of books he knew nothing ; he never learned to read. 
After a time he became under-forester, a position which afforded him 
congenial occupation roaming the mountains of the homeland, and 
holding close converse with the wild animals of the chase. 
Eventually he settled at Balnakeil House as bo-man or cattle-man to 
the fourth Lord Reay, an office which did not prevent him from 
joining in the periodic hunting expeditions organised by the 
gentlemen of the neighbourhood, who found the company of the bard 
a sine qua non. 

In 1759 he joined the regiment raised by the Earl of Sutherland, 
more as a regimental bard than as a fighting unit, and continued 
wearing the red coat until that body was disbanded in 1763. 
Thereafter he returned once more to Balnakeil House, and got 
employment from Colonel Hugh Mackay, son of John of Mussel, his 


former patron and master. The poet died in 1778, and was buried 
at Durness. 

From this brief account of his eventful life it will be seen that, 
though he never went to school in the ordinary sense of the term, he 
had varied opportunities of studying men and manners in the school 
of life and living, which is a higher education to a man of genius like 
Rob Donn. His genial, and brilliant biographer, Dr. Macintosh 
Mackay, tells us that "he lisped in numbers" almost from the cradle, 
and gives specimens of his infant compositions treasured in later years 
by an adoring public. As he grew in years and experience, he gave 
unto his Gaelic countrymen of the north songs sad, and gay, and 
dreamy, that went humming from lip to lip without the aid of printer 
or press. When a good man passed away, the poet felicitously voiced 
the sorrow of the community in an elegy, but when anything meriting 
public censure happened, or that tended to weaken the moral sense of 
the people, Rob Donn in language that flayed to the bone scourged 
the delinquent, whatever the rank of the person concerned. It was 
such things that made him so beloved of the people. 

There are pieces of Rob Donn's that put him in the front rank of 
eighteenth century poets, be they English or Gaelic. Take, for 
instance, his ode to the aged Ian MacEachun, now no longer able to 
go south to the markets as of yore. It is a splendid piece of imagery, 
the work of a master-hand. The ideas fly like sparks of fire from an 
anvil, and the touch is as airy as a feather. Or for humour take 
Macrofy's Breeks, or for razor-like sarcasm Bob Gray — the lashing of 
the latter is Byronic. Of course, it has to be remembered that the 
Strathnaver dialect, in which the poet composed, renders him less 
acceptable to the Gaelic speaking people of the south and west, 
but those who speak as he spoke know how to appreciate their 
peasant poet. 

The songs of Rob Donn were first published in 1829 under the 
editorship of the Rev. Dr. Macintosh Mackay, editor-in-chief of the 
London Society Gaelic Dictionary, and afterwards Moderator of the 


Free Church of Scotland, a man of high learning and character. The 
volume is entitled "Songs and Poems in the Gaelic language by 
Robert Mackay." That same year a handsome monument inscribed 
" In memory of Rob Donn, otherwise Robert Mackay," was raised by 
public subscription within the church-yard of Durness, where his 
body lies. A second edition of his poems appeared in 1871. 

But, like Homer, Rob Donn was too great a man not to be 
claimed by other people. In 1899 a third edition of his works 
appeared, edited by Mr. Hew Morrison, in which we are gravely told 
that the poet was not a Mackay at all, that the first editor from 
clannish sentiment stamped a lie on the face of his book, and that the 
admiring subscribers to the monument did likewise. These grave 
charges, flung forth with much reckless assurance, call for substantial 
proof. Where is it 1 

Mr Morrison permits himself to write ; — " The name Mackay was 
first applied to Rob Donn on the title-page of his poems in 1829." 
That is emphatic enough, but it is emphatically the reverse of correct. 
Let us see. In 1816 there was issued a work on Ossian by the 
brothers Maccallum, in which they refer to our poet as " Robert 
Mackay, commonly called Rob Don ; " and ten years earlier still, Dr. 
MacArthur writing on the Ossianic question also calls him a Mackay. 
About 1792 Sir John Sinclair of Ulbster, writing on the parish of 
Thurso in the First Statistical Account, says " the celebrated 
Highland bard, Robert Donn alias Mackay." As one grand-aunt of 
Sir John's was the wife of the third Lord Reay, and another the wife 
of John Mackay of Strathy, we may take it for granted that the 
learned baronet knew what he was talking about. 

General Stewart of Garth quotes as follows from Munro's account 
of the casualties at the battle of Arnee, fought in 1782: — "I take 
this opportunity of commemorating the fall of John Donne Mackay, a 
corporal in Macleod's Highlanders, son to Robert Donne the 
bard, whose singular talent for the beautiful and extemporaneous 
composition of Gaelic poetry was held in such esteem." That is to 


say, four years after the poet's death his son is designated Mackay. 
True, sometimes soldiers enlist under fictitious names to conceal 
identity, but in this case the soldier gloried in being his father's son, 
and the fact was patent to the whole regiment. 

Again, in Sage's Memorabilia Domestica the following pregnant 
sentence occurs : — " The most distinguished of the Mackays of that 
age was Rob Doun the poet." He tells us that his own father, when 
a schoolmaster at Tongue, met the poet ; and we know that the 
father, afterwards minister of Kildonan, was one of the first to 
commit some of Rob Donn's songs to MS. Sage, the author, became 
himself minister in Strathnavei* about 1815, and being a genealogist 
to the tips of his fingers, was not likely to make a mistake in this 
matter. During his ministry at Achness he must have met scores of 
people, some of them intelligent tacksmen, who knew Rob Donn 
intimately. Is it probable, rather is it possible, that a man of Sage's 
well known genealogical tastes, and with such excellent opportunities, 
Mould make so stupid a blunder in the case of Rob Donn's surname? 
The unbiassed reader can supply the answer. 

We shall now consider more closely the two arguments — they are 
practically one, for the one grew out of the other — by which Mr. 
Morrison maintains his thesis that Rob Donn was not a Mackay. 
The first is a letter, dated — mark you — 1882, from the Rev. Eric 
Findlater of Lochearnhead, who was born in the Manse of Durness, 
stating that he heard old people say that the poet was a Calder. and 
that his own father held that opinion too. As we see nothing 
formidable in that argument, we toss it aside meantime. The next 
argument, and the only one, is Mr. Morrison's interpretation of certain 
entries in the parish records of Durness, in which alias abound. 
Here are some specimens : — 

" Isobcl Donn, alias Mackay, alias Calder, alias Ekel." 

" Colin Calder, alias Donn, alias Ekel and Mackay." 

" Isobel Donn, alias nin Rob Dhuinn, alias Calder, alias Ekel." 

Of the Ekel, Mr. Morrison can make nothing, but he is convinced 


that the alias Calder in the above (he concludes that they are all the 

poet's children) makes Rob Donn's proper surname Calder. We 

interpret otherwise. On Strathmore, the poet's native place, there 

was a hamlet called Calder, close to Mussel, and somewhere in the > T o. u. 

neighbourhood there was another place called Ukal 1 ; the former is 

mentioned in the Judicial Rental of 1789, and the latter in 

transactions between Lord Reay and Donald Mackay of Eriboll and 

Farr, son of the Hon. Charles of Sand wood, 1/19. In these days it eeay pipers. 

was quite common to alias members of a family by the colour of their 

hair, by their employment, or by the township in which they lived. 

A black Robert would be Rob Da, a brown Rob Donn, a shoemaker 

might be Rob Greasich, a cooper Rob Cupar, etc. So too with 

places. William Mackay of Achool, e.g., was simply William 

Achool; and in the Sutherland Lists of men capable of bearing arms 

in the '45 we meet with such names as William Sidera, John Sidera, 

Alexander Dunin, etc., which are to be simply understood as William 

and John of Sidera or Cyderhall, and Alexander of Dunan. 

In this connection it is pertinent to observe that the descendants, 
in the fourth generation, of people removed from the heights of 
Stratlmavcr 85 years ago, and now residing in Farr, are to this day 
called after the hamlet whence their evicted ancestors came. In the 
conversation of the people, the members of one Mackay family never 
get anything but Kedsary, of another Dalvina, and of another Skail. 
Xow these colloquial surnames of well-known Mackays living to-day 
are on a par with the bewildering Ekel-Calder-Donn-Mackay aliases 
of the Durness register. Besides, such a simple and natural way of 
reading these aliases enables us to understand how Munro in 1782, 
Sir John Sinclair about 1792, General Stewart, the Messrs 
Maccallum, and Dr. MacArthur early in 1800, and the Rev. Sage 
a little later have no hesitation one and all in calling the poet a 
Mackay. Mr., now Dr., Morrison may cherish the idea that he has 

1. Probably Ukal, Ekel, Oikel, and the Norse Ekkial are various forms of the same word. 
The Norse ekki means sobbing, and ekkill a widower, so that the place-name may mean "a bare 
slope " or " the place of tears." 



made a discovery in the Findlater letter of 1882 : we think he has 
discovered a mare's nest. 

That part of the Durness register of baptisms, in which these 
aliases strangely abound, was the work of the Rev. Mr. Thomson, 
who seems to have had a consuming mania for inserting such 
variations. In the registers of sasines, deeds, and testaments bearing 
upon the same part of the country, as well as in the Reay Papers and 
Rent Rolls, the record is practically normal, and nothing approaching 
in any way Mr. Thomson's method is there shown. Nay more, in our 
examination of the Presbytery Records and Reay Papers the surname 
Calder but seldom occurs, and it never appears at all until after the 
middle of the 18th century, when one or two of that name immigrated 
into Strathnaver. But that it was a bye-name at an earlier date is 
very probable. 

In this connection we should remark that a fourth edition of the 
poet's work appeared in 1899, and that it contains an able and 
judicious chapter on the bard's surname by the Rev. Adam Gunn, 
U.F. minister of Durness, one of the joint-editors, utterly repudiating 
Mr. Morrison's novel contention. 


XIX. 1. (J>corgc, 5tfj £ovb ^teag. 


(^ OME years before his father's death, George, as Master of Reay, 

^*^_) took up residence in Tongue House, which had undergone 

considerable alterations in 1/50 conformable to a provision 

in the will of the 3rd Lord Reay, who had left a sum of money for 

that purpose. To this house in due time the young Master brought 

his wife, a daughter of the Honl. Hugh Mackay of Bighouse, but she 

died after a little over a year of married life, leaving no issue. 

In 1/62 George, now Lord Reay, appointed Charles Gordon of 

Skelpick, a captain of the Sutherland regiment and an extensive cattle 

dealer, factor of his estate. Soon after this appointment his Lordship 

made an arrangement with Gordon, whereby the latter was to 

purchase year by year the surplus produce of the Reay estate. This 

arrangement is of some interest, because it gives us a glimpse of the 

economic conditions at the time. Rent then was paid in kind, rarely 

in money. The tenant paid in horses, cattle, sheep, hides, wool, 

cheese, butter, etc., and what his Lordship did not require for his own 

use he disposed of to Gordon. The hides, wool, cheese, and butter 

were shipped to the southern markets ; the horses, cattle, and sheep reay paters. 

were collected at certain appointed centres, and led in droves to the 

Kyle market, near Bonar, or it might be to the great market at 

Falkirk. To pursue the avocation of a drover was not beneath the 

dignity of a Highland gentleman of the period. In the early years of 

the century John Mackay of Mussel was the leading drover of 

Strathnaver, but in the course of time he took into partnership the 

Honl. Hugh Mackay of Bighouse, and now Captain Gordon takes up 

the role. 


212 XIX. 1. GEORGE, 5th LORD REAY 

As for the tenants, those in the neighbourhood of the sea-shore 
were hound to collect a certain quantity of sea-ware and to burn it 
into kelp. They were paid for every ton of kelp which they 
produced, but the production of this article was part of their paction 
with the proprietor from which there was no escape. As kelp 
commanded a high price in the manufacturing towns of the south, it 
was a remunerative business for proprietor and tenant. Although the 
Government of the day encouraged the fishing industry in the north 
by the offer of a large bounty, we are not aware that the people 
of Strathnaver took advantage of that offer then, though they 
subsequently did. They were eminently a pastoral people, living 
on the produce of their flocks, and the surplus male population 
steadily set its face in one direction only, to wit, soldiering. For the 
usual handicraft trades they had no liking. This latter fact impressed 
us very much in our examination of the estate papers of Lord Rcay. 
When a substantial house had to be built or repaired the tradesmen 
had to be brought up from Caithness to do the mason and joiner 
work, and all the time the young, able-bodied men of the district 
were flocking into the army. Socially and economically this was a 
very unhealthy state of matters indeed. To cultivate war and to 
neglect industry is certain to bring its own punishment, as we shall 
see in the wholesale evictions after the peace of 1815. 

The following items culled from the accounts of the period will 
p.eay papers, give the reader some idea of the value of labour and the price 
of articles at that time : — 

" To two men that carried two ankers from 

Clerkhill to Sidera - - - 12/ Scots. 

"To James mac Rob with packet to Inverness 2/ do. 

" To an express from Sidera to Tongue - 1/ do. 

"To 75 lbs. powder - -£45 do. 

" To 8 bolls meal - - -£19 10/ do. 

"To 4 lbs. hopps ------ 6/8 stg. 

"To -J- lb. Boheatea - - 3/6 do. 

"To 6 lbs. 10 oz. single refined sugar @ 16d - 8/ 1 do." 

As tenants were bound to perform certain free services at this 


1761-8] time, and especially to carry letters or expresses, it is probable that 
the shilling Scot for a journey to Sidera and the two shillings for a 
journey to Inverness were merely to cover the travelling expense 
of the couriers. Anyway, the contrast between these figures and the 
price of meal is noteworthy. The average annual wage of a forester 
was £20 Scot, and that of Donald Macleod, Iteay's piper, was 
£21 6/8 ; but the piper and foresters had other perquisites besides, in 
the shape of land and houses.- 

Under the fostering care of the Society for Propagating Christian 
Knowledge the number of schoolmasters was steadily increasing, as 
the Records of Presbytery show, and the tacksmen were manifesting 
a growing interest in education by starting local or side schools. 
Strange as it may appear to some, one means of supplementing the 
scanty salary of the schoolmasters was by the annual holding of 
a cock-fight, to which all the scholars each brought a bird. The 
defeated cocks became the property of the teacher, but the owners of 
the two best fighting birds were decked with ribbons, and on the 
following Sunday marched to church thus decorated at the head of a 
procession of school pupils. Xow-a-days we raise money for 
deserving objects by bazaars and raffles, but in a fighting age, such as 
the middle of the 18th century was, the orthodox way of raising 
money was by a cock-fight. One hundred and fifty years hence, 
perhaps, the bazaar and raffle may appear as much out of place to our 
successors as the cock-fight does to us. Let us not rashly cast stones 
at our ancestors because they looked out upon life through their own 
coloured glasses. 

As we hinted in the preceding memoir, the 5th Lord Reay was 
very much dissatisfied with the arrangement which his father and 
grandfather made in 1741. Though the 4th Lord Reay was content 
to let the estate lie in trust, with but limited control over it, his son 
was of a different mind. He claimed full control over the estate in 
virtue of his mother's marriage contract of 1732, and justly took up 
the position that as he was not consulted at the making of the later 

Reay Papers. 

214 XIX. 1. GEORGE, 5th LORD REAY 

arrangement, he would not be bound by it to the extent of losing his 
liberty under trustees. This caused some friction between him and 
other members of the family, especially between him and the Honl. 
George Mackay of Skibo, who, being a lawyer, held the family papers, 
and sought to keep them out of the hands of his Lordship. The 
result was a litigation, in which his Lordship recovered the family 
papers, one box of which contained estate papers and another private 
family letters, etc. 

On the 28th Nov., 1767, Reay obtained a decreet proving the 
tenor of his mother's marriage contract, by which he inherited the 
estate in entail, and duly had the said contract registered. On the 
14th January, 1/68, he took steps to make up his title to the estate 
on this contract by a general service as heir male and of provision to 
his father, but before the instrument could be taken out in his person 
he died on the 27th February of that year at the early age of 34, and 
leaving no male issue the matter went no further. If in the providence 
of God he had been spared a few days longer the estate would have 
become an entailed one, and his cousin Eric could not have sold it at 
a later date. But as it fell out, Eric was enabled to serve himself 
heir under the arrangement of 1741, which brought the estate into his 
hands in fee simple, and empowered him to dispose of it as he 
thought fit. Little did the 3rd Lord Reay realise the disastrous 
consequences of the arrangement of 1741, which he intended to be of 
a temporary character only. 

George, oth Lord Reay, a man of masculine character and strong 
mental power, died at Edinburgh as aforesaid, and was buried in the 
chapel of Holyrood, where an altar-shaped tomb marks his resting 
place. He married, first, Marion, daughter of the Honl. Hugh 
Mackay of Bighouse (contract 30th September, 1757), but by her, 
who died 12th March, 1759, had no issue. He married, secondly 
(contract 1st October, 1760), Elizabeth, daughter of John Fairley of 
that Ilk, in Ayrshire, and by her, who died 10th November, 1800, 
had one son, who died in infancy, and three daughters : — 


i. Jane, died at Edinburgh, unmarried, 13th February, 1773. 

ii. Marianne, married William Fullarton in Ayrshire, Colonel of the 
101st Foot, and M.P. for that county. He was appointed 
Governor of Trinadad, 29th June, 1802, and died at London, 
13th February, 1808, leaving no issue. Having no family to 
succeed, he sold the greater part of his landed estate in Ayrshire 
to the Marquis of Tichfield in 1805 for the sum of £75,500 
stg. His widow died near Melrose, 28th March, 1838. 

Hi. Georgina, died unmarried at Bathampton, Somersetshire, 2nd 
August, 1847. 

Blk. MS. 

XIX. 2. IPitgt), 6tt) Sorb llcctu. 



'S the 5th Lord Reay died without issue, Hugh, his only brother, 
succeeded to the estate and to the title. In early boyhood 
Hugh was a bright, sharp fellow, foremost in youthful sports, 
and very fond of music, which latter he cultivated in the Manse of 
Durness, where he was boarded under the tuition of the Revd. Murdo 
Macdonald. He afterwards went to reside with maternal relatives at 
North Berwick, and there studied for two more years. About that 
time he came by an accident, hurting the headland, brain so seriously 
that he eventually became fatuous. 

In consequence of this misfortune, which rendered Lord Hugh 
incapable of managing his own affairs, his three uncles were appointed 
curators, viz., Hugh of Bighouse, George of Skibo, and General 
Alexander. The curators entrusted his Lordship to the care of a 
worthy gentleman, James Mackay, tacksman of Skerray, in whose 
house he lived all the rest of his life. The curators also appointed 
reay papers. one f their number, George Mackay of Skibo, factor for the estate, 
with liberty to reside at Tongue House. When Skibo died in 1/82, 
he was succeeded in the factorship by General Alexander Mackay, 
who continued to discharge this duty until 1789, and from the later 
date until 1797 Lieut.-Col. George Mackay of Handa, afterwards 
of Bighouse, acted as factor. 

On the death of the Hon. Hugh Mackay of Bighouse, heir 
presumptive of Lord Hugh, in 1770, the succession devolved upon 



1776-8] Skibo and his heirs male, so that from that date Skibo became to all 
practical purposes proprietor of the Reay estate. Skibo had two 
hobbies : politics and commercial speculation. In the former he had 
some success, in the latter he had very little. Owing to severe 
losses in speculative transactions, he had to part with the estate of 
Skibo, which he inherited from his maternal uncle, Patrick Doull, and 
which was heavily encumbered at the time. 

In the MS. Journal of John Macdonald, a native of Argyleshire, 
who came as a teacher to Skerray, near Tongue, in the summer of 
1776, we read as follows : — 

"I was very genteely received by Mr. and Mrs. Mackay of Skerray, 
and by their daughter Anne, who was a widow, having been but a short 
time married to Mr. Mackay of Melness, and lived in her father's house 
since his death. This lady, I may venture to say, was as well 
accomplished as any that ever I was acquainted with. . . . The 
kindness and civility I met with in this family is beyond my expression ; 
in short, I was offered to live in the family, and you may think that a 
stranger, as I then was, would be glad of the offer. This gentleman had 
two promising boys, his grandchildren, both fatherless and motherless. 
. . . . These two boys I had under my tuition both at school and at 
home, and being extraordinarily liked in the family I was introduced to 
the best company in the country. This part of Sutherlandshire is 
inhabited by the Mackays, a clan remarkable for their loyalty and their 
hospitality to strangers, which I experienced very much." 

Here Macdonald lived for two years "very happy, and might live 
so all my life only for my rambling inclination." The recruiting 
sergeant was abroad, and Macdonald, like many another in that 
countryside, embarked upon an adventurous military career. But we 
shall let him tell his own story in his own words : — 

"About this time (1778) His Grace the Duke of Gordon had got a 
commission to raise a Highland regiment, which was to be called the 
North Fencibles, and Mr. Mackay of Bighouse having a Captain's 
commission in that regiment, I was determined to go with him, let the 

consequence be what it would So on the 4th June, 1778, I 

enlisted with Captain Mackay as pipe-major, and to have a shilling a day. 
We staid in the country recruiting till September, and then our party, 
consisting of one captain, two lieutenants, one ensign, five sergeants, five 


21 S XIX. 2. HUGH, 6th LORD REAY 

corporals, and one hundred and three privates, marched from their 
different rendevouzes, and all joined at the Meikle Ferry." 

Thence they marched by stages to Elgin, where the regiment was 
embodied and quartered for some time, but in November they 
proceeded to Fort George. 

"We marched to Fort George in three divisions, and being all arrived 
took, up our quarters there for the winter. Everything was reasonable in 
Fort George that year, so that we might have made a very comfortable 
living of it . . . . but what through indolence and excess of 
drinking a great many of them fell sick, and some died." 

The chatty piper and quondam teacher, disliking the idleness of 
garrison duty, got transferred into Lord Macleod's Highlanders, and 
had the fortune to take part in the memorable defence of Gibraltar 
under General Elliot, and to serve for a time as the body servant of 
that officer. 1 The military excitement which sent Macdonald piping 
away to the wars was felt in every hamlet of Strathnaver. Besides 
the company under Bighouse serving in the Gordons, another under 
his brother joined Lord Macleod's Highlanders, another joined 
Fraser's Highlanders, and two companies joined the Sutherland 
Highlanders, making a total of five companies raised in Strathnaver 
at that time. The gallantry of the Frasers in America and of the 
Macleods in India is so well known to readers of General Stewart of 
Garth that we need not enlarge on the matter here. 

In 1782 General the Hon. Alexander Mackay, Commander-in- 
Chief of the Forces in Scotland, a man of large governing experience 
both at home and abroad, became commissioner or administering 
factor for the Reay estate, and with great humanity devoted himself 
to the improvement of the lot of the smaller tenantry. All over the 
Highlands at that time many of the smaller holders were sub-tenants 

1. Macdonald gives a graphic account of the prolonged defence of Gibralter, and of his own 
adventurous career in India and China. In 1794 he returned to London, and hearing that Ids old 
officer, Mackay of Bighouse, was there making arrangements for the raising of the Reay Fencibles, 
joined that regiment and served with it for some time in Ireland. After eighteen years of righting 
and wandering, he returned again to the parish of Tongue and once more took up the role of 
dominie among the Mackays. His curious and most interesting Journal, extending to about 120 
pages of closely written J1SS., is well worthy of publication. 

Beat Papers. 


1782-9] of the larger tacksmen, bound not only to pay rent but to render 
certain services, often oppressive, and subject to capricious eviction at 
the hands of what was practically their masters. The sub-tenant had 
to do spring and harvest work for the tacksman, to cut and lead his 
peats, to go with letters long distances, and to take charge of some of 
his wintering cattle. The sub-tenant was often not at liberty to 
dispose of his own cattle in the open market, but had to sell to the 
dealer prescribed by the tacksman. This vicious system, which 
enabled selfish men to grind the faces of the poor with impunity, 
General Maekay set himself to root up with a determination which 
does him infinite credit. We cpiote from the tack of Duartmore, in 
1787, to David Nicol : — 

" It is further agreed that the said David Nicol is hereby restricted 
from charging his sub-tenants with any more rent than he pays to Lord 
Keay in proportion to what the sub tenant possesses, with the addition of 
5% upon the sub-tenant's whole rent for the foresaid David Nicol's 
trouble and risk. This clause never to be forgot by David Nicol." 

The clause which we print in italics appears underlined in the 
original document, and a similar clause finds a place in every lease 
granted by General Maekay. That there was need for such a clause 
is very evident, for the rent of Tongue farm in 1789 was £30, while appendix 
the converted services of the sub-tenants on the farm were valued at 
the same figure, so that the tacksman had the place practically free. 
No doubt other places were similarly circumstanced. In a letter, 
20th March, 1788, to a tacksman who was getting a renewal of his 
lease, the. general writes : — 

" I am certain that no people can thrive till they are perfectly free 
and masters of their own time. But there is still one material point 
which I want to put on a clear footing, which is that tacksmen shall not 
have the power of treating their sub-tenants in a worse manner than the 
rest of the tenants on the estate are. This, I am sure, you and every 
honest man must approve, as it is following the golden rule of doing as 
you would be done by. I wish particularly that every sub-tenant should 
have the same liberty, as every man ought to have, of selling his cattle to 
whom he pleases, and likewise that they should not be obliged to winter 

Reay Papers. 

220 XIX. 2. HUGH, 6th LORD BE AY 

cattle for the taxman any more than tenants are for the proprietor, and 
they should not be subject to carry burdens or to go from home on the 
taxman's business, but with their own free will and paid for their trouble, 
as these customs are all oppressive." 

In another letter to the same tacksman, 7th May, 1788, the 
general unburdens his mind still further on the subject of sub-tenants 
and the services which were demanded of them : — 

"Let me ask one question. Why should not the man who pays one, 
two, or three pounds be as free as the man who pays fifty 1 By your 
clause there is no option left to the sub tenant, but he must do what the 
taxman desires, only that he is to be fed, and he must both carry burdens 
or carry letters if he is suitably paid [this was a suggestion of the 
tacksman writing], but not the liberty of refusing to go should it be 
inconvenient for him or his family. In short, as 1 said, I much rather 
have no clause at all in the Tack on the matter than put my hand to such 
a clause as yours, though at the same time I own that what you state is 
treating the sub-tenants better than they have bet-n used with. But this 
is a subject altogether beyond the reach of a letter, and such is the force 
of habit and custom that though every taxman sees and feels the 
inconveniency of services so far as regards himself, yit he cannot see his 
sub-tenants in the same light. 

"Where services must be paid they ought to be stipulated to guard 
against imposition, and accordingly I fix for the parish of Kintail half 
peats, that is to say, half what was usually paid. Every other thing 
whatever, harvest and spring work, carrying burdens, and going with 
letters, I totally abolish. When such are wanted, a man must be found 
who is willing to go for a certain hire according as he agrees. But it is a 
difficult matter to alter the customs of a country which has been so long 

upon a barbarous and cruel footing With regard to David 

Kicol, I have no objection to grant him a Tack of what he possesses 
himself, but I will never put it in his power, or any such men, to turn 
out or put in sub-tenants at his pleasure." 

To obviate the necessity of sub-tenants going long distances as 
couriers carrying the tacksmen's letters, the general approached the 
postal authorities in London for a regular postal service throughout 
the estate. This appears from the following paragraph in a letter of 
his :— 

" I have applied to the Post Office, and have every reason to believe 
that an allowance will be made for a post from Tongue to Thurso and 




1782-9] from Tongue to Durness by Eriboll, which may in a great measure 
answer all the country ; and perhaps some small allowance for a post once 
a week from Edderachilis to Eriboll. But as these regulations will take 
time, as they must be sent to London and get the sanction of the 
Postmaster-General there, for nothing can be done here [Edinburgh], I 
am endeavouring all in my power to do everything to make the 
inhabitants of the country free and comfortable. If the taxmen will 
second my endeavours I have no doubt of succeeding, as all I desire is to 
treat your sub-tenants as you wish to be treated yourselves." 

Besides striving in this way to elevate his countrymen, the general 
encouraged the fishing industry by starting a Fishing Company and 
taking a large share in it himself; and as the general had a large 
private income and no family dependent, he did this purely to help 
the people out of the goodness of his heart. The leading members of 
this Fishing Syndicate were the Messrs Arbuthnot of Peterhead and 
Mr. Anderson of Rispond. They built a pier and storehouses at 
Rispond, a boatslip and stores in Edderachilis, and had a vessel 
trading regularly between Aberdeen and Loch Eriboll. This 
industry, including kelp, was for a time most successful, and brought 
a considerable amount of money into the country. 

The general also took a great deal of interest in the ecclesiastical 
and educational machinery of the country. As an elder of the Kirk 
he represented the Presbytery of Tongue for some years at the 
General Assembly of the Church, and advocated the crying need of 
Strathnaver for more teachers and itinerant preachers with a great 
measure of success ; while in a year of threatened famine he was 
instrumental in bringing corn from abroad to supply the starving- 
tenants. Of this latter fact the Presbytery take notice in a minute, 
26th November, 1783, as follows: — 

"The Presbytery taking it to their serious consideration how 
seasonably this country has been supplied with victuals from abroad, 
when the scarcity which prevailed among themselves was of a most 
alarming nature, and threatened most awful consequences, have appointed 
a thanksgiving day in their bounds on the 25th December for this 
merciful interposition of Providence." 


Altogether, General Maekay was a splendid specimen of a 
cultured humane gentleman, and like his father, the 3rd Lord Reay, 
intensely interested in the moral and material welfare of his beloved 
countrymen of Strathnaver. The pity is that he ruled only seven 
short years ! 

The memorable French Revolution, so fraught with evil and with 
good, broke out in 1/89, sending a flutter of anxious concern through 
every Cabinet in Europe. The successful Gallic revolutionists 
encouraged, by example and by sympathy, people with grievances 
everywhere to rise and do likewise. In Britain there were two 
danger spots ; discontented Ireland and the Highlands of Scotland. 
In the former the danger was real enough, but in the latter it existed 
only in the apprehension of a Government who had not yet forgotten 
the rising of the '45. The southern Highlands were opened up by 
the military roads of General Wade during the early years of the 
century, but the northern Highlands still lacked these necessary 
arteries of communication. It was in these threatening circumstances 
appendix th a t ]\i r _ Brown surveyed roads for the northern counties, 1/90-99, 

-No. 58. J ' 

under the advice and direction of the Commander-in-Chief of the 
Forces in North Britain. 

In 1/92 war broke out between Britain and France, and soon the 
two nations were in deadly grips. The call to arms resounded 
through the land, and nowhere was the call more heartily responded 
to than among the mountains of the north, where clans formerly 
divided now presented a loyal and united front to the common foe. 
Caithness raised her regiment, and so did Sutherland, and so did 
Strathnaver also. With the history of the former two regiments we 
have little to do here, although in both of them there were many 
Mackays. Our business is with the Strathnaver men and their 
regiment of Reay Fencibles, for which a Letter of Service was 
obtained on the 24th October, 1794. We shall now quote from the 
IIS. Journal of Macdonald, the Skerray teacher : — 

" At that very time Col. Bailie of Rosehall, and Lieut-Col. Maekay of 


1794-7] Bighouse were in London waiting for a Letter of Service to raise a 
regiment of Fencibles, which was obtained on the 24th October, 1794; 
and on the 27th I enlisted with Lieut.-Col Mackay as pipe major of that 
regiment., which was afterwards called the Reay Fencibles. 

"I staid in London with Lieut.-Col. Mackay till the 12th November, 
and then came with himself t~> Edinburgh, and was left there with Lieut. 
Munro and Lieut. Hunter of the same regiment, who were then recruiting 
for it in Edinburgh and the country round. I continued on the recruiting 
service till the 14th April, 1795, and the recruiting parties belonging to 
the Reay Fencibles were called in to Elgin, in Morayshire, which was our 

"The regiment was embodied at Elgin on the 17th June, 1795, and 
receiving arms and clothing we marched in two divisions to Fort George 
about the middle of July, where we remained until the beginning of 
October, and were then ordered to Ireland. Having left Fort George 
we marched to Port Patrick, and were safely landed at Donaghadee on 
the 3rd November, and on the 5th arrived at Belfast, and were inspected 

there by General Nugent The regiment began to do duty 

then, and continued so to do till the 24th April, 1796, when there was an 
order for reducing all Fencible regiments then in Ireland to 500. Irs 
consequence of this redncement I was one of those discharged, on account 
of my lameness [received at Gibralter]." 

This regiment was known as Lord Rcay's Highlanders, otherwise 
the Reay Fencibles, and was commanded by Col. Hugh Mackay 
Baillie, an officer of much experience, grandson of Col. the Hon. 
Hugh Mackay of P>ighouse. The second in command was Lieut. Col. 
George Mackay of Bighouse, also an officer of experience, and the 
vast majority of its officers and men were recruited in the country of 
Stratlmaver. In the following memoir we shall have more to say of 
General Lake's " honest Reays." 

Ever since the time of the 3rd Lord Reay the Society for 
Propagating Christian Knowledge, by its teachers especially, had 
been doing admirable work in the country of Strathnaver, and in no 
other part of the Highlands did the people make more progress 
intellectually and morally. Tne following extract from the report 1 
(1796) of Dr. John Kemp, Edinburgh, secretary for the S.P.C.K., 

1. The Reports of the S.P.C.K. are most interesting, and the future historian of the Highlands 
must devote a considerable amount of attention to them. 

224 XIX. 2, HUGH, 6th LORD RE AY 

regarding the work of the Society in that country, speaks for itself: — 

" A more active, vigorous, spirited people are nowhere to be found, 
nor to strangers more hospitable and obliging. In their general turn of 
mind they are sober and religious ; their manners are orderly and 
decent ; their thirst after knowledge is great, and ever since the 
Revolution their loyalty to the family on the throne has even in the 
worst of times been unshaken. Among such people it is not to be 
doubted that the Society's teachers are received with avidity and 
gratitude and their schools well attended. The secretary was happy 
to find the schoolmasters in general men of respectable talent and 
attention to their duty ; nor did he find in any part of the Highlands 
young people who discovered a quicker genius for learning." 

Hugh, 6th Lord Reay, died at Skerray, unmarried, 26th January, 
1/97, and was buried in the family vault at Tongue. He was 
succeeded in the title and in the estate by his cousin Eric, son of the 
Hon. George Mackay of Skibo, of whom follows. 



XIX. 3. grtc, Uti) Sorb ~£\eay. 


THE flame of active rebellion did not break out in Ireland until 
1798, so that for three years the Reay Feneibles led an 
uneventful life in that distressful country, doing garrison duty 
and overawing the discontented in detached parties. In the spring of 
the latter year, however, the Irish took up arms encouraged by 
promises of French help, and the Reays were ordered to march from 
Belfast to Cavan, in order to be within easy reach of threatened 
Dublin. Shortly thereafter they advanced towards Dublin in two 
divisions. On the 24th May, the first division of two companies, 
having pushed on close to the capital, was suddenly attacked and lost 
part of its baggage, which happened to be in the rear. 

When Major Scobie of Melness, who commanded the second 
division of five companies at Navan, heard what had happened, he 
immediately dispatched three companies to intercept the enemy. 
This force accompanied by a few Yeomanry after a forced and hungry 
march found the enemy 4000 strong posted on Tara Hill, on the 
evening of the 26th. Serious though the odds were, the Reays at 
once deployed and boldly pressed on to the attack, burning to avenge 
the petty loss of their comrades on the 24th. Sir Richard Musgrave 
in giving an account of that battle says, " the Reay Feneibles 
preserved their line, and fired with as much coolness as if they had 
been exercising on a field day." Under a hot ragged fire, to which 
they replied at regular intervals by sharp disconcerting volleys, they 

225 d2 

226 XIX. 3. ERIC, 7th LORD REAY 

reached the top of the hill without a waver and got at their foes with 
the bayonet. The Irish were brave as usual ; but the disciplined 
courage of the Reays prevailed, and five hundred of their Gaelic 
cousins bit the dust on Tara Hill before the sun went down that 
evening on the field of carnage. Of the Reays, the hero of the day 
was Lieutenant Angus Mackay of the Colonel's company, who was 
promoted Captain " for bravery at Tara Hill," and " to rank as from 
1st November, 1797." This brave man was a native of Kinloch, 
Tongue, and died at Thurso about 1834, the hereditary baimerman of 
the Aberach Mackays. 

Towards the end of August, General Lake with the Kilkenny and 
Longford Militia and the Fraser Fencibles attacked a force of French 
and Irish at Castlebar. Lake's militia gave way in face of the enemy, 
and breaking into flight threw the Frasers into confusion. Poor 
Lake, who had left the Reays behind him at Tuam, was heard to 
exclaim in the bitterness of his sorrow, " If I had my brave and 
honest Reays here this would not have happened," as we are told by 
a contemporary, General Stewart of Garth. But not long after this, 
Lake overwhelmed the French force at Bala na Muic, capturing the 
survivors and scattering the rebels. Though the victory at Bala na 
Muic practically extinguished the rebellion, the Reays did not return 
from Ireland until 1802, when they were disbanded at Stirling. 

In the spring of 1798, Lieutenant-Colonel George Mackay of 
Bighouse, commanding officer of the Reays, returned on sick-leave to 
Scotland and died at his brother's residence of Scotstoun, near 
Edinburgh, 6th September. So beloved was he of his comrades that 
they raised a tombstone to his memory in the Bighouse Aisle of Reay. 
The following paragraph from a letter by Mrs. Seobie, daughter-in- 
law of Major Seobie, which appears in Dr. Mackay 's memoir of Rob 
Donn, bears testimony to the character of the Reay Fencibles : — ■ 

"During their stay in that country [Ireland], I have been assured by 
the officers of that corps, that there was not a single barrack occupied by 
the private soldiers, which had not a newspaper as regularly as the 





1798] commanding officers had theirs ; and whoever of the inmates was esteemed 

the fittest to read, and explain to such as could not read for themselves, 
was employed to read aloud for the benefit of all. In this way passed 
their evenings, not in "rioting and drunkenness;" and the money thus 
saved, was remitted for the benefit of their families and relatives at home.'' 

As a case in point, we may mention that our own great-grand- 
father, Hugh Nicol, who served in the Reays from start to finish, 
returned home with a Bible which cost him three months' pay. That 
Bible, the reader may rest assured, is a treasured possession of the 
godly soldier's descendants. Of such men General Lake spoke truly 
when he called them " honest Reays," for ri itchd tuasaid, i.e., 
breasting a conflict, Bible-loving lads may safely be trusted to do 
their duty in a tight corner. 

While the Reay Fencibles were serving in Ireland, another 
regiment of militia was raised in the shire of Sutherland, of which 
Eric Lord Reay was Hon. -Colonel. It went by the name of 
Sutherland Volunteers, but drew pay like an ordinary Fencible 
regiment as we gather from Macdonald's Journal, and continued in 
existence for some time after 1808. Of that regiment five companies 
were raised in the country of Strathnaver, viz., the Bighouse, Farr, 
Tongue, Durness, and Edderachilis companies. It seems to have 
swept into its ranks practically all the able-bodied men of these reay papers. 
localities, as the following quotation from a letter, dated 1798, from 
Mr. Anderson of Rispond to Captain Kenneth Mackay of Torbol, 
shows : — 

"By the way, I should think they must see little who do not see this 
country approaching rapidly into a state of depopulation, and that by the 
very means once thought favourable — I mean the volunteering establish- 
ment. Such effect has the smattering of exercise upon the rising 
generation, aided by their pay, that not one individual' able to lift a 
drum-stick remains unenlisted in Durness, and I am told the same is 
pretty true of the rest of the estate." 

Mr. Anderson's gloomy anticipations were due to his difficulty in 
getting men to work for the Fishing Syndicate, of which he was the 

228 XIX. 3. ERIC, 7th LORD RE AY 

acting director on the spot. The military movement also raised 
wages, and that was a sore blister to the complainant. 

Again, in 1800 the Sutherland Highlanders, or 93rd Foot, was 
raised, and in that part of the shire which pertained to the Countess 
of Sutherland by a system of conscription. At anyrate that was the 
case in the parish of Farr, as we were informed by our maternal 
grandfather, Murdo Macdonald, whose two brothers drew black balls 
out of a ballot-box, as he told us, and consequently had to go. They 
both afterwards fell at the battle of New Orleans, 8th January, 1815. 
This regiment took part in the capture of Cape Town, 1805, and 
remained in garrison there until 1814. While stationed at the Cape, 
they formed themselves into a congregation, elected office-bearers, 
engaged the Revd. Mr. Thorn to be their minister, paid his salary out 
of their own pockets, and regularly held the Communion after the 
Scottish fashion. Hear what the minister says of his remarkable 
flock, writing to the Christian Herald of October, 1814: — 

"When the 93rd Highlanders left Cape Town last month there were 
among them 156 members of the Church (including 3 elders and 3 
deacons) all of whom, so far as man can know the heart from the life, 
were pious persons. The regiment was certainly a pattern for morality 
and good behaviour to every other corps. They read their Bibles ; they 
observed the sabbath ; they saved their money in order to do good ; 7000 
rix dollars (£1401) stg.) the non-commissioned officers and privates gave 
for books, societies, and the support of the Gospel — a sum perhaps 
unparalleled in any other corps in the world, given in the short space of 
seventeen or eighteen months. Their example had a general good effect 
on both the colonists and the heathen How they may act as to religion 
in other parts is known to God ; but if ever apostolic days were revived 
in modern times on earth, I certainly believe some of these to have been 
granted to us in Africa." 

Seventy years earlier Lord Reay brought a cup to Strathnaver 
which split in a shower of blessing all over Sutherland, and the after- 
result is seen in the conduct of the 93rd at the Cape. To these men 
the exercises of religion became as essential as the morning tub is to 
the average cultured Englishman, and they saw nothing more 
remarkable in their own conduct than an Englishman does when he 


1802-21] piously rubs himself down. Let not the reader imagine that the 93rd 
despised soap either : they were at the same time one of the smartest 
regiments of the Line, the afterwards immortal " thin red line " of 
Balaclava fame. 

When the survey of the four northern counties v\as under 
execution 1 790-99, the roads in these parts were mostly mere pony- 
tracks, innocent of bridges and utterly unfitted for wheeled traffic. 
This was eminently true of the roads in the country of Strathnaver, 
which may yet be traced in various places winding their angular 
course up hill and down dale regardless of gradient. The survey was 
followed in 1802 by an Act of Parliament, granting £20,000 stg. 
towards making roads and building bridges in the Highlands ; and for 
enabling proprietors to charge their estates with a proportion of the 
expense. The proprietors were also empowered to have recourse to 
"statute labour," that is to forced labour, in order to carry out this 

In 1805 an Act of Parliament was passed "for assisting the 
proprietors of land in the county of Sutherland " towards the expense 
of making roads, and for " converting the statute labour of the said 
county into money." By this Act half of the expense was borne by 
the Treasury, and the other half fell upon the county after the 
following manner. The authorities to be organised for the purposes 
of this Act were empowered to assess the proprietors at not more 
than 2s. and not less than Is. per pound Scots of old valued rental, 
yearly, until the sum required was raised. As to statute labour, 
tenants paying £5 or less of rent were to be charged 2s. yearly, 
leaseholders and tenants paying over £10 were to give in lieu of 
statute labour 3s. for the first ten pounds, and 3d. a pound for every 
pound beyond that. Heritors were assessed at the rate of 3d. in the 
pound for statute labour like the rest. In 1821 another Road Act 
was passed, making provision for the maintenance of roads already- 
made and for the forming of new ones. By this Act the county was 
divided into three districts, with Boards for each. So that from the 


NO. 58. 

Reav Papers. 

230 XIX. 3. ERIC, 7th LORD RE AY 

start, tenants and proprietors bore their share in the making and the 
maintaining of the county roads. 

Almost as soon as Lord Eric succeeded in 1/9/, he took steps to 
reduce the leases which his uncle, General the Hon. Alexander 
Mackay, granted to the tacksmen on the estate, and in an ensuing 
law-suit was successful on the plea, that a lease granted by a curator 
appendix is only valid during the life-time of the ward. In 1789 the total 
rental of the estate was only £1294 9s. 6d., but in 1/97 a valuator 
reports that " if the present lord lives to the age of his father or 
ibid. no. 57 grandfather, he may in the course of his life bring it to £5000 yearly 
rental." In 1815, however, so greatly had the war with France 
affected the price of meat, wool, meal, etc., that the rental of the 
Iteay estate stood at £10,890 stg. 

The great war with France, which raged intermittently from 1792 
to 1815, and to which the Highlands of Scotland gave her sons in 
their tens of thousands, was the indirect cause of those " Highland 
Clearances" which many modern economists so much deplore. 
Proprietors all over the Highlands, finding that sheep-farms could 
afford to pay enormous rents, proceeded to clear the straths of their 
hardy peasantry and to turn them into sheep-walks. In no part was 
this policy carried out with greater heartlessness than in the shire of 
Sutherland, and especially in the valley of the Naver which runs 
through the parish of Farr. This was the property of Elizabeth, 
Countess of Sutherland, who had married the Marquis of Stafford, 
and who was consequently very much of an absentee. 

This policy was put into execution in a manner that was well 
calculated to press with unnecessary severity upon the smaller 
tenants, should the incoming leaseholder, who was generally a large 
south country capitalist, be lacking in sympathy with the people. A 
large tract of country was set to such a capitalist, with power to 
remove the old established tenantry as it suited himself. A Mr. 
Patrick Sellar, at one time an official of the Countess of Sutherland, 
in 1814 took a lease of the greater part of the valley on the east side 


1814-9] of the river Naver, and proceeded to evict the people, burning their 
houses, peat-stacks, etc. During this process hundreds were 
rendered homeless, and an old bed-ridden woman was so severely 
burnt that she died soon afterwards. In due time the west side of 
the river received similar treatment, and by 1819 Mr. Scllar cleared 
that populous countryside of all its human inhabitants, burning 
everything before him. 

To put such a power into the hands of a man like Mr. Patrick 
Sellar, who looked upon and treated the people of Strathnaver as 
banditti antl sheep-stealers — see an extract of his own letter to Lord 
Reay in our Appendix No. 60 — was a melancholy blunder if not a 
crime. Of the evicted some were huddled along the sea coast, a few 
sought an asylum in Caithness and Orkney, but swarms fled to 
Canada. One of the latter thus sings from distant Canada : 

" When the bold kindred, in the time long vanished, 
Conquered the soil, and fortified the keep, 
No seer foretold the children would be banished, 
That a degenerate lord might boast his sheep. 

Come foreign raid ! let discord burst in slaughter ! 
Oh ! then, for clansmen true and stern claymore. 
The hearts that would have given their blood like water 
Beat heavily beyond the Atlantic roar. 

Fair these broad meads, these hoary woods are grand, 
But we are exiles from our fathers' land.'' 

For the evicted ones who elected to stay in the country no 
provision was made for the re-building of houses, and no com- 
pensation made for the houses destroyed by fire. They were simply 
dumped down on land which they had to reclaim from a wild state, 
and practically left to shift for themselves. And yet, forsooth, this 
policy was, and is still by a few interested ones, called an improve- 
ment ! Although on the estate of Lord Reay large tracts of land 
were placed under sheep and many teuants removed, the process was 
not attended by such inhumanity. For further details on this painful 

232 XIX. 3. ERIC, 7th LORD RE AY 

subject, the interested reader should consult Mackenzie's Highland 
Clearances and Sage's Memorabilia Domestica. There is too much 
truth in the lurid pictures drawn in these books as we .have good 
reason to know, for in the words of the Gaelic proverb, " Bha mi 
thai] is chunnaic," I was over and saw. 

In a previous memoir we showed that George, 5th Lord Reay, 
died before he was able legally to secure the estate in entail, 
according to his mother's marriage contract of 1732. When his 
brother Hugh succeeded, the curators made up his title on the lines 
of the agreement of 1741. Some time after Lord Eric succeeded, he 
found out that he had the option of making up his titles on the 
REAYPArEKs. contract of 1732 or on the agreement of 1741, and that by the latter 
the estate would be a disentailed one. In 1825 he raised an action 
of Declarator against the heirs of entail, and was successful. Thus 
he secured the estate in such a fashion, that it was in his power to 
sell it should he desire to do so. Immediately on the conclusion of 
this lawsuit, his Lordship borrowed a sum of £100,000 stg. from the 
Countess of Sutherland and her husband, the Marquis of Stafford, on 
the security of the estate. In the bond there was a proviso that if 
the interest due upon the same was not duly paid, the estate would 
have to be sold within twelve months after the failure. 

When his Lordship borrowed this money he had an income of 
close upon £10,000 a year from his own estate, and though an 
unmarried man this was evidently not enough to meet his expenditure. 
The inevitable was not far off, for the borrowed money was all spent 
in about a couple of years. Lord Eric made a feeble effort to free 
himself from the toils that were gathering round him, and endeavoured 
to raise money wherewith to repay the bond to the Sutherland family, 
but for some reason or another he did not prosecute his intention. 
In 1829 he needed more money, and sold all his estate in Strathnaver 
to the Marquis of Stafford, afterwards Duke of Sutherland, for the 
sum of £300,000 stg. Thus what the Mackays held through 
sunshine and through storm for about twenty generations, was at last 


1S29] miserably frittered away in 1829 1 by a degenerate son, who 

accidentally got the power to do so. 

His Lordship, who died in 1847 leaving no legitimate issue, was 
succeeded in the title by his brother, Major the Hon. Alexander, of 
whom a short account follows. 

1. Since the above was written the Reminu-cencgs of Evander Maciver, factor for the Duke of 
Sutherland, have been published, and contain at page 65 a very inaccurate account of the above 
transaction. It is not correct to say, as is said there, that the Marquis of Stafford "generously 
offered to lend money to Lord Reay, if that would suit his views, and prevent the sale of an old 
paternal estate." The truth is Stafford was naturally very keen to secure the estate, as a mass of 
letters on the subject in the Reay Papers show. 

The Rev. Macintosh Mackay, LL.D., the intimate friend of the brothers of Lord Eric, gives us 
the other side of the shield, and it is as much entitled to publication as the factor's account. We 
quote from his letter in the Ben Reay JS T otes: — "The Sutherland family never did any good to the 
Reay family .... and I believe the correct interpretation of the transaction* bet ween the 
old Countess-Duchess of Sutherland and Eric, Lord Reay, who sold the estates of Reay to her, is 
that it was a siege of some five hundred years laid to the Reay estates by the Sutherlands, which 
they succeeded m winning at length in 1829. That worldly-wise woman lent money to Eric, Lord 
Reay, till she could turn upon him and compel him to pay the loans she had made to him, or give 
over his whole estate to her." 



XIX. 4. JUcscmfccr, Sti) JLovb ~g\cav. 


WHEN Lord Eric sold the estate in 1829, no proper provision 
was made for his brother and successor in the title, the Hon. 
Alexander. This is what the Rev. Dr. Macintosh Mackay, 
an intimate acquaintance of Lord Alexander, writes in the Ben Beay 

Notes : — 

" Lord Eric's younger brother, Alexander, then a Major in the army, 
with a numerous family, got not one farthing of the proceeds of the sale. 
He was left destitute and worse than destitute - he was imposed upon by 
being made to believe that his brother purchased an estate for him in 
Demarara, a Negro estate ! But on that estate being examined, it was 
found pledged to the teeth, and was sold by judgment of the Court for 
its debts — debts which were not covered by the sale. A natural daughter 
of Eric's married a baronet in Hertfordshire. She was dowered by her 
father and made very rich, while his brother Alexander, with his whole 
family, was left pennyless." 

His Lordship served for some time in the Gordon Highlanders, 
but on the embodiment of the 93rd or Sutherland Highlanders he 
joined that corps as a captain, and in 1815 was retired on half-pay 
and the rank of major. He afterwards held the rank of Barrack- 
Master of Malta. 

Lord Alexander married, 8th April, 1809, Marion, daughter of 
Colonel Gall, Military Secretary to Warren Hastings, and widow of 
David Ross, Calcutta, eldest son of Lord Ankerville, a judge of the 



Court of Session. Lord Reay, who died in 1863, bad by her the 
following children : — 

i. George Alexander, died 1811. 

ii. Eric, who succeeded, and of whom follows. 

Hi. Anne Marion, died 1852. 

iv. Sophia, married in 1852 Charles Arthur Alymer, and died in 
London without issue in 1866. As she had expressed a desire 
to be" buried beside her great-grandfather, Am Morair Mor, her 
body was re-interred in the Reay vault at Tongue on Monday, 
9th September, 1867, when a huge concourse of people attended 
the obsequies from all parts of Strathnaver. It was the last 
burial in the Reay vault ; and on the preceding Sabbath the 
Rev. Dr. Macintosh Mackay preached the funeral sermon, which 
was afterwards published, in the Free Church of Tongue to as 
many people as could be packed into the building. 

v. Mary, died 1852. 

vi. Clara, died 1862. 

vii. Elizabeth, died 1862. 

viii. Charlotte, married John Drever of the India Civil Service, and 
died without issue in 1852. 


XX. f tic, 9fl) Sort !£cay. 


"+ARIC, 9th Lord Reay, served for some time in the army as a 
JAj Lieutenant, but retired and went into business. He died, 
unmarried, in 1875, when the title passed to the Dutch 
branch of the family, in the person of Aeneas Mackay, a Baron of the 
Netherlands, Vice-President of the Council of State, and holder of 
the Grand Cross of the Order of the Netherlands. Both Lord Reay 
and Baron Aeneas were in the 5th generation of descent from John, 
2nd Lord Reay. See our Genealogical Account of the Dutch 


In 1813 Lord Armadale, grandson and heir of John Mackay, 5th 
of Strathy, sold the estate of Strathy to the Marquis of Stafford for 
£25,000 stg., and in 1830 Major Colin Mackay of Bighouse sold 
Strathhalladalc to the same nobleman for £58,000 stg. With the 
£300,000 paid for the Reay estate, the Marquis of Stafford paid 
altogether about £400,000 stg. for the country of Strathnaver. Thus 





at last, after a long struggle, English gold 1 gained the day for the 
house of Sutherland. Some years ago, the Duke of Sutherland sold 
the estate of Strathy and part of the parish of Durness to a Miv 
Gilmour ; and in 1900 His Grace sold a part of the valley of the 
Naver to the Congested Districts Board, in order to the replantation 
thereupon of tenants who will in due time become free holders. 

The immediate effect of the •' Clearances," which began in 1814, 
was socially disastrous. This policy swept away with one fell stroke 
most of the larger and middle class farmers, who were in many cases 
men of some culture, and whose adventurous sons served the 
Government in all parts of the world as officers, civil and military, 
A few of these farmers were reduced to the status of crofters, but the 
great majority left the country altogether. Their places were taken 
by Sellars, Marshalls, Reeds, Dunlops, Patersons, etc., all English- 
speaking men from the south, who farmed the country in large tracts 
and put their sheep in charge of shepherds from the Borders of 
Scotland. On the one hand the country was occupied by large 
imported capitalist farmers, and on the other by a crofter indigenous 
class. Between these two a great social gulf yawned — a very 
unhealthy state of matters indeed. 

In the course of three generations, however, this state of matters 
has undergone a great change. The Border shepherd has completely 
passed away, his quondam masters are almost gone too, and scions of 
the old stock are budding anew. Take for example the late Mr. 
Donald Mackay, tacksman of Melness and Skelpick, of whom we give 
a plate portrait on the opposite page. The submerged people of 
Strathnaver are slowly but steadily lifting their heads, and the waste 
lands are on the way of being re-peopled again. These " Clearances" 

1. When the Countess Elizabeth succeeded to the title and estate of Sutherland, after a 
prolonged law-suit, her estate was burdened and there was no spare money ; but when she married 
the wealthy Marquis of Stafford this state of matters was reversed. The said Marquis bought not 
only the country of Strathnaver, but also at a high price all the saleable estates in the southern 
part of the shire of Sutherland, viz., Skelbo and Torboll in 1S04 ; Uppat in 1S12 ; Carrol, etc., in 
1812 ; Linsitmore in 1824 ; Creich in 1S33 ; and Langwell in 1837. A few years before the last of 
these purchases was effected Stafford was created Duke of Sutherland, but by that time the once 
habitable straths of Sutherland were under sheep, while dotted all over were the gaunt walls of 
burnt houses, lately the homes of a brave and godly race. Ah the shame and the sorrow of it all I 

23 S XX. ERIC, 9th LORD RE AY 

damped the military ardour of the people for a time. During the 
Crimean War they refused to listen to the overtures of those in 
authority, and comparatively few from the country of Strath naver 
took part in that struggle. When urged to fight for their country, 
they replied : — " We have no country : our country is under sheep : 
let them fight the Russians." At the present time, however, we 
understand that along the sea-board over 300 men are annually 
receiving training in the Naval Reserve of our country, and had there 
been any sea-fighting during the late Boer War, these men would 
have proved as serviceable afloat as their grandfathers did ashore in 
the French War. 

In connection with this change no one deserves more honourable 
mention than Mr. John Mackay, Hereford, a native of the parish of 
Rogart. A soldier-crofter's son, by integrity and push he became one 
of the greatest Railway Contractors in Britain, and with his well 
earned wealth has never ceased to support every cause which he 
considers beneficial to the Highlands, and with especial respect to 
Strathnaver. It is not too much to say that in the present generation 
no Mackay has made a fairer name for himself, and certain it is that 
Strathnaver has not had a warmer or more liberal friend than 
" Hereford," the name 1 by which he is affectionately known. Had he 
poured his money as lavishly into the coffers of either political party, 
he would have had a handle to his name long ere now ; but he " hath 
chosen the better part." 

The Clan Mackay Benefit Society, formed in Glasgow in 1806, 
was one of the earliest of the Scottish clan societies, of which we 
have now so many. We quote from its rules : — 

"Therefore We, in our name, and in the name of all who may here- 
after be actuated to join us, from a sense of personal and social duty, did 
upon the twentyfirst day of July, one thousand eight hundred and six 

1. Mr. John Mackay, Hereford, belongs to the Abemch branch of the Mackays of Strathnaver. 
His father and grandfather were patronymically known as members of the Clan Neil, i.e. descended 
of Neil Williamson Mackay, who was killed at Thurso in 1G49. The said Neil, whose sons and 
descendants were known as Neilsons or Clan Nell, was the son of William Mor, son of Neil maclan 
macWilliam, 5th Aberach chieftain. 


years, by Divine aid, constitute ourselves into a Society, under the title 
of M'KAY'S SOCIETY"; and in order that our friendship may he 
maintained . . we . . determine in this method to raise a fund for 
the mutual help of each of us in the time of afflictive dispensations." 

The Society was to consist of none but Mackays " of good moral 
character,'' and "it is to be understood that no Roman Catholic shall 
be admitted into this Society." For the maintenance of due decorum 
at their meetings, it is enacted that " if any person shall swear by the 
name of God, in the time of the meeting, he shall be fined One 
Shilling, sterling, for each oath." 

About forty years ago the Edinburgh Sutherland Association was 
formed, and since then has continued to do admirable work in the 
shire. Its object is twofold : to help distressed countrymen, and to 
foster higher education in the country by prizes given after written 
examination. In both departments it has done untold good. In 
1888 the Clan Mackay Society was started, with headquarters in 
Edinburgh and Glasgow. It has already raised a substantial bursary 
to assist deserving students, and has also collected a considerable sum 
of money as a Benefit Fund for members of the clan who may be in 
distressed circumstances. We understand that clansmen from all 
parts of the world have subscribed most generously towards this 

■ S)S#»P. 



I. liljc gibcmci) ~-£iackavs. 

Bi Tren 

Aberach Mackay Arms 

I. Ian Aberach, son of Angus Du VII. of Strathnavev by his 
second wife, a daughter of Alexander Carrach Macdonald of Keppoch, 
son of John, Lord of the Isles, by his wife, a daughter of King 
Robert II., was the first of this branch. We quoted already at page 
61 from the Knock MS. that " Mackay of Stratlmaver was taken, 





I. Ian Aberach, son of 
Angus Du VII. 
(See p. 97). 

II. William Du, at 
Aldicharrisn, 1487. 

III. William, k. 1517. 

c^eg pedigree. 


IV. Thomas. 


John, a w. 154S. 


Neil MacEan MacWilliam, 
a w. 1671. 


VI. Murdo, m. 1615. 



And other: 

VII. John. 

Robert, 1649. 
(Line a. ) 


VIII. Rev. William, 
a w. after 



w. 1672. 
(L ine b. ) 

William Mor, had a 
com. 1624. (Line d.) 
Neil, k. 


IX. Robert. 



X. Hush, b. 
1715, c. 

XL George, m. 


XII. George, d. 











And others. 

Angus, 1678. 
(Line g.) 

i I I 

Neil, w. Wm. Mor. Wm. MacRobert. William. 




(Line e.) 

Robert, the Captain William. 

historian, Angus, | 

d. 1846. 1798. | 









I I 

John, Angus, a w. 

1731. 1733. 

I (Line h.) 

I I 

Thomas. Angus, 1745. 

William Malcolm, d. 
with 1820. 



XIII. Rev. James, b. 1820, 
living, with issue 

And others. 

William, d. 1903, 
leaving issue. 

Angus, d. 1824, 
with issue. 


who married thereafter a daughter of Alexander Macdonald of 
Keppoch, of whom descended the race of Mackays called Slioc Ean 
Abrich." In various encounters, already sufficiently described, he 
gallantly led the Mackays, and for some years during his elder 
brother's absence governed Strathnaver. Of his banner, now 
preserved in the National Museum, Edinburgh, we shall have some- 
thing to say in an addendum to this Account. We show on page 242 
the arms of the Aberach Mackays, as heraldically drawn from the 
representation on the said banner. The seat of the Aberach chieftains 
was at Achncss, about two miles below Loch Naver, on the east side 
of the river. Their burial place was at Gnubeg, on an eminence close 
by the northern shore of Loch Naver, and in a special part of the 
■cemetery there carefully walled oft' from the rest. 

According to the Bute MS., Ian Aberach m. a dau. of Macintosh 
of Macintosh, and had by her known issue two sons : — William Du, 
of whom follows ; and John. 

II. William Du, who took a prominent part at the battle of 
Aldicharrish in 1487, when the Mackays were assisted by his cousin, 
Macintosh of Macintosh. He is probably the William McKy, one of 
the two " armigeris," who witnessed in the Cathedral Church of 
Dornoch, 2nd April, 1497, the Precept of King James IV. to lye 
Mackay of Strathnaver {Appendix No. 6). He in. a dau. of Hector 
Roy 1 Mackenzie of Gairloch by his wife, a dau. of Ranald MacRanald 
of Moidart (MacFarlane's Collections, Scot. His. Soc. 33 : 78), and 
had known issue : — William, of whom follows ; and Donald, k. at 
Loch Salchie along with his brother, 1517. 

III. William was k. in 1517 at Loch Salchie, between Loch 
Shin and Oikel, fighting against the Murrays, who were probably in 
league with the Rosses. According to the Bute MS., he m. a dau. of 

1. In the Bute MS. Mackenzie's dau. is said to have been the second wife of Ian Aberach, but 
this is obviously a mistake. Looking to the dates at which they flourished, she must have been a 
contemporary of William Du, and was too young to marry his father. 


Thomas Murray of Tulibardine, and had issue : — Thomas ; John, of 
whom follows; Gavin; Alexander; Murdo ; and Neil, of whom below. 

Neil was placed in charge of Skibo Castle by the Mackays 
about 1545. When the Gordons came to power in the days of 
Mary of Lorraine, they tried to be avenged upon Neil for this and 
other acts of his. The Blk. MS. has the following item : "Letters 
of Fire and Sword granted by Queen Mary of Scots to John, Earl 
of Sutherland, against Neil Mcky and his accomplices accused of 
misorder and slaughter in Strathnaver, whereby the said Earl was 
empowered to raise and convene all fencible men within Sutherland 
and apprehend the said Neil and his accomplices and if need 
be to seize houses, raise fire, commit slaughter and mutilation upon 
the said parties, which shall never be imputed as crime to the said 
Earl. At Banff, 12 Sep. 1556." The above savage clauses were 
usually inserted in Letters of Fire and Sword. The tradition is 
that Neil lay low until the storm blew over, hiding in Uamh Neil, 
Neil's Cave, in Ben Clibrig. 

IV. John Williamson, and nine others were summoned to 
appear before the Lords of Justice (Huntly, chiefly) at Inverness in 
1538 "for alleged reset and iutercommuning with Donald and 
William Caldochson, rebels, accused of the slaughter of umquhill 
Donald Henryson and others" {Appendix No. 17). In 1548 "John 
Willemson in Auchindes " witnessed a sasine of Langwell (William 
Gray's Protocol Book). He married the " umquhile Donald M'Kay's 
dochtir of Farr" (Orig. Par. Scot., II., ii, 713), in other words the 
dau. of Donald XI. of Strathnaver and Fan - , and had known issue a 
son and a daughter. 

i. Neil MacEan Mac William, of whom follows. 

ii. Margaret, married 2nd May, 1562, William Sutherland or Hector- 
son, in Langwell, receiving as her " tocher thrie skoir of greit ky." 
She had known issue : — John Sutherland " alias Aberach " killed 
at Syre in February, 1587, evidently for the part which he took 
at the Durness conflict. Hugh of Strathnaver and Donald 
Balloch of Scoury obtained the king's pardon for the slaughter 
of the said John Sutherland, 1st January, 1598 (Reg. Mag. Sig.) 

V. Neil MacEan Mac William, as "Nigello Mcleane 
MakWilliam, scrvis dicti Odonis" (Neil son of John son of 


William, acting for the said lye), witnessed the sasine to his cousin, 
lye Du of Strathnaver, of the lands of Strathnaver, 20th April, 1571 
{Appendix No. 26). In the same capacity he also witnessed the 
Grant for the charter, and the Instrument of Possession which lye Du 
obtained. From this it is evident that Neil and lye Du were fast 
friends, and that they fought shoulder to shoulder. After the death 
of lye Du the Durness affair of 1579 drove a wedge between Neil 
and Huisteau Du, as we show in the memoir of the latter. It also 
resulted in a bitter and prolonged feud between the Aberachs and the 
Gunns, in which much blood was spilt on both sides. Tradition has 
it that one of their fierce encounters took place at Beallach Vigais, 
about the middle of Strathhalladale and on the west side of the river. 
Neil Aberach's foster-mother accompanied him to the field, 1 and as 
she saw one after another of her own sons struck down as shield- 
bearers to the chieftain, she kept calling "Aprau ur air beal 'obh 
Neil " (a new apron in front of Neil). Of doughty Neil Sir Robert 
Gordon says, he was " a good captain, bold, crafty, of a very good 
wit, and quick resolution." The pity is that Huistean Du of Strath- 
naver had not the wisdom to give Neil a proper title to his ancestral 
lands of Achness. With such a man at his back he could have 
spoken with greater effect to his enemies in the gate. 

According to the Bute MS., he married a daughter of Hector 
Munro of Contalich, and had known issue four sons : — 

i. Murdo, of whom follows. 

ii. William Mor, of whom afterwards as VId. 

Also Eobert, who witnessed the marriage contract of Murdo in 
1615; and Neil. 

VI. Murdo held the lands of Guubmore in wadset, and as 
cautioner to the 1st Lord Reay in a bond of 1636 is styled "Murdo 

1. Hollinshed referring to this period writes:—" In these days also the women of our country 
were of no iess courage than the men, for all stout maidens and wives, if they were not with child, 
marched as weli in the field as did the men." {Chronicles, V., 24.) 


M'Ky of Gnubmoir" (Reay Papers). He married, 15th April, 1615, 
Christina, daughter of Donald Balloch of Scoury, and had known 
issue : — 

i. John, of whom follows. 

ii. Robert, of whom afterwards as Vila. 

Also Neil ; and Ann, married Neil Campbell of Achnalick. 

VII. John is traditionally known as a man of pronounced piety, 
and strongly sympathetic with the persecuted Covenanters. He 
married Christina, daughter of the Rev. Alexander Munro, the poet 
preacher of Durness, and had one sou, of whom follows : — 

VIII. Rev. William Mackay, minister of Dornoch. A very 
important document, bearing upon the Reay estates, was witnessed at 
Fortrose by "Mr. William M'Ky in Dornoch," 1st February, 1673 
(Reay Papers, Drawer 1, Bundle 2, Part ii, No. 5). From the 
importance of the paper, and the use of the courtesy title Mr., which 
was then the equivalent of Rev., we think the said William was the 
Aberach chieftain. Some years after that date, he frequently 
witnessed Mackay documents among the Reay Papers, as minister of 
Dornoch. He married Jane, daughter of John Dunbar, Bailie of 
Elgin, and had issue three sons : — John, died unmarried ; George, 
Sheriff-Depute of Moray, married a daughter of David Sutherland of 
Kinstorie, but no issue ; and Hugh, died unmarried. 

Vila. Robert Mackay, second son of Murdo VI., was taken 
prisoner at Balveny along with the 2nd Lord Reay, 1649 (P.C. Reg.). 
He had a condescendence from the 2nd Lord Reay, to himself and to 
his eldest son Murdo, "of the lands and grassings of Ainloine, 


Drumrinnie, and Coulnafearn, to sit and raise crops on the saids lands 
and grassings, aye and until payment is made of 1000 merks " 
contained in a bond by his Lordship to Robert, 28th January, 1606 
(Reuy Papers). At that time he held Lcttcrmore and Letterloyal in 
tack, residing at the latter place. When the fortunes of the Reay 
Family were very low, owing to severe losses incurred in the cause of 
Kings Charles I. and II., Robert Mackay was one of the six in whose 
names the Reay estates were secured in 16/3. He was also foster- 
father to Donald Master of Reay, who was accidentally killed in the 
Reay Forest. He married Isabella Munro, and had issue : — ■ 

i. Murdo, of whom follows. 

ii. Alexander, of whom afterwards as Vlllb. 

Hi. John, a scholar of considerable attainments, teaching tutor of the 
3rd Lord Rea}'. He witnessed the renunciation of the wadset 
of Eriboll, 8th September, 1719, as "John M'Kay, Tacksman of 
Langdale, Sherifi'-Depute of Strathnaver." He had known 
issue : — Rev. George, of Edderachilis, died unmarried, 1743 ; 
Lieut. Alexander, of the Sutherland regiment ; and John, who 
was married and had issue. 

iv. William, of whom afterwards as VIIIc. 

v. Janet married William Mac Angus MacCallan Mackay, eldest son 
of "Angus M'Callan and his spouse Margaret nein Angus 
MacAngus." The said William had sasine on a contract of 
marriage, 11th April, 1670, of his father's wadset of the four 
pennylands of Strathmelness (Reay Papers). We showed on 
page 19 that these M'Callans were descended of Farquhar, son 
of lye IV. of Strathnaver. The issue of this marriage was an 
elder son, of whom follows : — 

" William MacWilliam MacAngus alias M'Ky," who had a 
Precept of Clare constat, 23rd April, 1686, as heir to his 
father in the wadset of Strathmelness. He married 
Elizabeth Mackay, and had known issue a son and a 
daughter, viz., John Mackay of Strathmelness, who had a 
Precept of Clare constat, 1st February, 1726, as heir to his 
father in the wadset of Strathmelness. He was a poet, 
and a great friend of Rob Donn. He married Jane 


Sutherland, grand-daughter of the Rev. William Mackay, 
Rogart, son of lye of Golval (See Bighouse Mackays), 
and had issue, but we cannot trace them. He had a 
sister, Catherine, married to John Mackay of Clashneach, 
son of Hector of Skerray (See Strathy Mackays). 

vi. Christina, married Hugh Mackay of Cairnloch, son of John 
Mackay of Skerray (See Strathy Mackays). 

Villa. Mdrdo, " eldest lawful son and apparand heir to Robert 
Mackay in Lettirloyal," secured a bond from the 2nd Lord Reay, 
12th December, 1664, over the lands of Coulnafearn, wester side of 
Strathbeg, and Druminrini. He married " Jane third lawful 
daughter of Captain William Mackay of Borley," to whom he gave 
sasine of the above lands in life-rent, and to their eldest son Robert 
in fee, 17th September, 1681 (Reay Papers). He then resided at 
Carnachie, afterwards removed to Edderachilis, but eventually 
returned to the valley of the Naver. He had four sons and one 
daughter : — 

i. Robert, died young. 

ii. Donald, succeeded his brother in the bond by disposition 27th 
November, 1683. He took part in the Darien expedition, and at 
St. Christopher, West Indies, 21st January, 1700, disponed the 
above rights to his uncle, Captain Hugh Mackay of Borley, and 
died without issue. 

Hi. Angus Mackay, Clibrig, is charged by Borley to enter himself heir 
as eldest lawful surviving son to the "deceased Murdo Mackay," 
and to Donald his brother, 11th June, 1712. The said Angus 
was alive on 4th June, 1723, and residing in Moudail, but does 
not appear to have had any children. 


Murdo, of whom follows. 

v. Elizabeth, mentioned in the disposition of 1683. 

IXa. Murdo, mentioned in the disposition of 1683. He is said 1 

1. For our account of his descendants we are indebted to information supplied by the Rev. Dr. 
James Mackay, Xllla. 



to have settled in the Heights of Strathy, where he had an elder son, 
of whom follows : — 

Xa. Hugh, commonly called Huistean M'Corrichie, born about 
1715, had a tack of Brae-Strathy, and married Catherine, daughter of 
John Mackay, Lettermore. He died in 1797, leaving issue three sons 
and two daughters : — 

i. George, of whom follows. 

ii. Murdo, who at the time of the "Clearances" removed to 

Hi. John, served in the 93rd Highlanders, and settled in Glasgow. 

iv. Isabella married John Mackay, Bowsid, and had issue : — 

1. Captain Hugh Mackay, who settled in Glasgow and had : — 

Thomas, a shipowner in Liverpool; Isabella; and Hughina 
married Captain Adair. 

2. John, served in the 93rd Highlanders. 

v. Barbara Mackay married Angus Mackay of Dalvina, Strathnaver, 
but removed to Aberdeen at the "Clearances." They had an 
only son, Captain Hugh Mackay of the ship " Raymond." 

XIa. George married Catherine, daughter of George Mackay of 
Arichliney, Kildonan, in 1785, and succeeded his father-in-law as 
tenant there. At the " Clearances " he sold out and removed to 
Wick, where he died in 1840. He had seven sous and three 
daughters : — 


George, of whom follows. 


ii. John, who was born in 1795, married a daughter of Mackay of 
Carnaehy and had two daughters : — Jane ; and Catherine, 
married Rev. J. Kennedy, Bosehall, Sutherland. 

The other children were : — Hugh died unmarried at St. Ann, 
Jamaica, 1815; Robert died unmarried at Demerara, 1829; 
Angus died unmarried at Inverness, 1840; William, a planter in 
Demerara, lost at sea in 1841, on board the "India," burnt oft' 


the coast of Brazil ; James died unmarried in Demerara, 1829;: 
Elizabeth died 1815; Jessie married in 1820 Andrew Mackay,. 
merchant and fishcurer, Helmsdale, with issue ; Isabella married! 
Alexander Mackay, Wick. 

Xlla. George Mackay became a merchant in Inverness, 181 l r 
in partnership with his maternal uncle, Captain Robert Mackay of 
Hedgefield, and continued for over fifty years to carry on the business. 
He was a J.P., senior bailie, and one of the directors of the Inverness 
Royal Academy. He married in 1819 Lillias, 3rd daughter of 
Duncan Grant, Dalshangie, Inverness, by Marjory, daughter of Major 
Alpin Grant, fourth son of Glenmoriston. He died in 18G9, leaving 
eight sons and three daughters : — 

i. Eev. Dr. James, of whom follows. 

ii. Bobert, a merchant in Inverness, married a daughter of Mr. 
Davidson, U.E., Burnfoot, near Inverness, and died in 1895 
leaving three sons :- Charles, died young; Edward, served in 
the British India Steam Navigation Co. for some years, married 
and lived in Inverness, but no issue ; and James G., now a 
medical missionary in Madagascar, married Kathleen Hedges, 
but no issue. 

in. Dr. Duncan, medical officer of health and police surgeon, Inverness, 
married first, Jane Allan, and secondly Sarah Ann Boyes. He 
died in 1886 leaving three children by his first marriage: — 
George A.R., agent "fur the N.S.W. Bank, Wellington, New 
Zealand, manied Annie E. Mirams in 1892, but no issue; Mary 
Isobel ; and Sarah Jane. 

iv. Hugh, born 1824, a merchant in London, married and had four 

v. George Grant Mackay, C.E., proprietor of Glenloy, Inverness, 
which he sold, settling in Vancouver, B.C., about 18S0, and 
died there, 1893. He married, first, A.nnie Denny by whom he 
had two children: — George, married Gertrude Georgina 
Findlay, and has George, born 1900; also Margaret. He 
manied, secondly, Jessie Simson and had four children by 
her : — Harry Hedgefield ; Eric Aberach ; Lilly Jane ; and 


vi. Rev. John died at Pau unmarried, 18G4. 

vii. Joseph, died unmarried at Brighton, Melbourne, 1857. 

viii. William, married Christina Watson and died leaving two 
children : — Ronald ; and Christina married a Mr Gunn, banker 
in Dingwall, afterwards C.A. in Glasgow. 

ix. Lillias, who died in 1858, married J. Wallace Robertson, C.A. 

x. Catherine, married in 1866 William Stevenson, J. P., manufacturer, 
afterwards of " The Lea," Bridge of Allan, and has three 
children : — Lieutenant William F. of the 23rd Bombay Rifles, 
drowned in East Africa, 1898; George H., an engineer on the 
Staff of the Assam-Bengal Railway; and Lillian, married in 1902 
Lieutenant Owen Jones, R.N.R. 

Xllla. Rev. Dr. James, born 1820, chaplain during the Indian 
Mutiny, for which he holds a medal, married, first, Lucretia 
Livingston Reed, by whom he had issue as follows. He married, 
secondly, Margaret Fowler, who died in 1900, leaving no issue. He 
now (1905) resides at Boscoinbe, Hants. 

i. Lieutenant-Colonel James Livingston Aberach-Mackay of the 8th 
Bengal Cavalry, now retired on half-pay. 

ii. George Robert, in 1873 appointed junior professor in the 
Government College, Delhi, and a fellow of Calcutta University, 
26th February, 1880. He married in 1873 Mary A. L. Cherry, 
daughter of General Cherry of the Madras Cavalry, and died at 
Indore, 1881, leaving four daughters: — Mary L. Mackay ; 
Francis Lillian ; Beatrice Georgina ; and Catherine married in 
1901 John Montagu E. S. Sharp, A.M.I.M.E., mining engineer. 

Hi. Lillias Grant, married at Merut, in 1870, William Edward 
Maxwell, son of Sir P. B. Maxwell, Chief-Justice of the Straits 
Settlement, at Singapore. Mr. Maxwell became Governor of 
Gold Coast and received the submission of King Prempeh at 
Coomassie, 1896, and for services performed then was knighted. 
He died at sea of fever, on his way home, leaving issue : — 

William George Maxwell, magistrate in the Straits Settle- 
ments ; Charlton Neville Maxwell, also a magistrate ; 
Eric Frank, a pleader, Singapore ; Dennis Wellesley, an 



officer in the Indian Army ; Gerald Vernon, in civil 
employ under the Governor of Fiji ; Peter Benson, 
Captain of the 35th Sikhs. 

VHIb. Alexander, son of Robert Mackay Vila, of Letterloyal, 
witnessed a document among the Reay Papers at Invernaver, 22nd 
October, 1672. He married Margaret, daughter of Andrew Fearn of 
Pitcallion by his spouse, Christian Ross, one of the fugitive 
Covenanters, with issue four children :— Angus ; Robert, of whom 
follows; Rev. William, died minister of Tongue, in 1/30, without 
issue ; and Barbara (See Excursus below). 

Excursus. — Barbara Mackay married Rev. George Brodie, minister 
of Edderachilis. On the death of her husband, she took a tack of 
Achovarasaid, 1742 (Reay Papers). The issue of her marriage was three 
daughters : — 

1. The eldest daughter married Bev. Alexander Oliphant, Bower, 

Caithness, with issue. 

2. Henrietta Brodie, married William Gordon, Langdale, and had a 

son Robert Gordon, tacksman of Langdale. Robert Gordon 

married Grace, danghter of Rev. William Mackenzie, Tongue, 

and had an only daughter, Barbara, of whom follows : — 
Barbara Gordon, married Rev. David Mackenzie, Farr, and had 

Grace, of whom follows : — 
Grace Mackenzie, who died in 1905, married John Macdonald, 

C.A., Edinburgh, and had the following seven sons : — 
James Macdonald, W.S., Edinburgh; Hugh Mackenzie, died 1862; 

John; Rev. David; Dr. William Burns, died 1903; Duncan 

Robert ; and Alexander Moody Stuart. 

3. Christina Brodie, married John Mackay, Auldanrini, and had 

known issue, two sons : —Angus, married and settled in Glasgow ; 
and Captain Alexander Mackay, tacksman of Duartbeg, who 
married Helen, daughter of Rev. Alexander Falconer, Edderach- 
ilis, with issue two sons and five daughters as follows : — 
Rev. Dr. Mackintosh Mackay, Moderator of the Free Church in 


IXb. Robert Mackay, tacksman of Halmdary, of whom we 
write on page 185. He married with issue five 

sons and one daughter. 

i. Ansus, tenant in Kinlochbea;, of whom follows. 

ii. Robert, a merchant and shipowner in Glasgow, had an only 
daughter, who died unmarried, 1865. 

Hi. William, Tubeg, Moudale, but of whom nothing further is known. 

iv. George, tacksman of Halmdary, married one of the Mathiesons of 
Shiness, who bore him two daughters as follows : — 

1 . Marion, married Angus Mackay, Kealmie, Farr. While 

Mackay was serving in the 93rd Highlanders, his wife 
and family weie evicted owing to the "Clearances." 
Barbara, one of her daughters, married Angus Macleod, 
Achina, and had issue : - "William Macleod, merchant, 
Achina ; John Macleod, Insjjector of Poor, Achina ; and 
others living in Achina. 

2. Christina Mackay married John Macleod, and removed to 

Strathy at the "Clearances," where their issue can be 

v. Murdo Mackay, tenant in Lettirmore, married a Miss Munro, 
and though a very old man had to remove to Orkney at the 
" Clearances." He had issue : — 

1. Angus, drowned in Orkney. 

2. John, a farmer near Stromness, married Bella, daughter of 

Grant, Falsaid, Tongue, with issue :— Murdo, who 
returned from Orkney to Strathy. mariied his cousin, 
Bella Grant, and had issue (John, tenant in Brawl, who 
has two daughters; David, died unmarried ; Hugh, died 
in Glasgow leaving one daughter; Bell, married Angus 

1849, editor of the London Society Gaelic Dictionary, and also 
of Bob Donn's Foems ; Lieutenant George Mackay, removed to 
Banff, married, and had a daughter, Helen (who married a Mr. 
Powell, and had a daughter, who became the mother of Dr. 
George Macdonald, poet, novelist, and preacher) ; Isabella 
Mackay ; Mary Mackay ; Alexandrina Mackay ; Christina 
Mackay ; and Helen Mackay. 


Macphail ; Christina, married James Douglas, no issue ; 
Margaret, married William Miller, Dunnet ; and Janet, 
married Alexander Mackay, Strathy-Point, with five 
children) ; Angus, died in St. John's, Newfoundland, 
leaving a widow and family ; Christina, married Donald 
Campbell, Orkney, and had issue ; and Kate, married in 

vi. A daughter married Robert Mackay, Xf. Clibrig. 

Xb. Angus, tenant in Kinlochbeg in 1789, married 
with issue four sons and two daughters : — 

i. Rev. Hugh, minister of Moy, Inverness, died in 1804, young and 

ii. William, served in the Reay Fencibles, and afterwards a teacher in 
Orkney, where he married. His known issue was a son William, 
clothier, on "The Bridges," Edinburgh. 

Hi. iv. Robert ; and Angus, settled in Orkney. 

v. A daughter married Robert Mackay Xd. 

vi. A daughter married Angus Macleod, Carnachy, and had with 
others Donald Macleod, an officer of the Army Commissariat, 
afterwards of Whitefielcl, near Thurso. Commissary Macleod 
had a daughter, Catherine, now widow of William Telford, 
Skerray, with issue : — Rev. William Hall Telford, U.F. Manse, 
Reston ; Donald, married in Montreal ; John, married in 
Skerray; Hugh, died young; Elizabeth (Mrs Maclaucldan) ; 
Mary (Mrs. Munro) ; Catherine; Anna; Benjamina ; and Jessie. 

VI He. William Mackay, son of Robert Vila., married 
and had issue a sou, of whom follows : — 

IXc. Hugh, married Ann Mackay and had known issue a son, of 
whom follows : — 

Xc. Willtam, married Christian, daughter of Robert Mackay, 


Durness, by his wife Janet, grand-daughter of Captain the Hon. 
William Mackay of Kinloch, and had issue a son and daughter, as 
follows : — 

i. Robert, of whom follows. 

ii. Anna, married George Levack, merchant, Thurso, and had four 
children: — Aeneas, died at Thurso in 1874, unmarried; William 
{See Excursus below) ; Christina, married Robert Miller, no 
surviving issue; and Marion, died in Glasgow in 1888, unmarried. 

XIc. Robert Mackay, writer in Thurso, and factor for the 
Trail estate, Caithness. He was the author of The History of the 
House and Clan of 3Iackay, published in 1829. He married 
Barbara, daughter of Alexander Campbell, Thurso, and died at 
Thurso, 184G, having had the following issue : — 

i. Captain William Mackay of the 3rd Foot, married Jane, daughter 
of John Hutchinson of Cairngall, Buchan, and died in Bombay, 
1827, leaving a son Robert. 

ii. Rev. Robert Do wie Mackay, .Toronto, who died in 1899. He had 

Excursus. — William Levack, settled in Glasgow in 1836, and became 
a partner in the firm " Scobie Brebner & Levack.'' He was one of the 
founders of the Glasgow Caithness Association in 1837, of which he 
continued a member till his death in 1893. He married Helen Noble and 
had issue, nine children : — 

1. Rev. George S. Levack, Dollar, died 1905. 

2. John A. M. Levack, died unmarried, 1880. 

3. Ellen B. N., married Lieutenant Robert Assheton Napier, R.N.R., 

and had issue :— George L. M. Napier; and Ellen N. L. Napier, 
married James Dunnachie, manufacturer, Glasgow, with issue. 

4. Anna Mackay Levack, married Alexander Ritchie, manufacturer, 

Glasgow, with issue : — Gilbert Ritchie of the China Inland 
Mission ; and Ellen (Mrs. Kirkpatrick). 

5. Robina, in Glasgow. 

6. Elizabeth, married James Dunnachie, Director of the Glenboig 

Fire-Clay Company, Glenboig House. 

7. Margaret, 33 Westbourne Gardens, Glasgow. 

8. Marianne, Do. 

9. Jessie Mackay Levack, married Samuel Hyslop Kerr, M.A. and 



one son Robert, who predeceased his father and left a son 
Robert Mackay, b. 1894. 

Hi. Rev. John Mackay, Free, now U.F., Church, Cullen. He m. in 
1850 Charlotte, 3rd dau. of Captain Patton, 12th Roj'al Lancers, 
and d. at Edinburgh in 1903, leaving one dau. : — Caroline 
Charlotte Mackay, m. in 1877 John Craig, general manager of 
William's Deacon Bank, Manchester, with issue. 

iv. Hannah Mackay, m. Eev. James Cairncross, Birsay, with issue. 

v. A dau. m. Mr. Hyder Brown, London. 

VId. William Mor, son of the Aberach chieftain, Neil MacEan 
Mac William V. Sir Robert Gordon styles him "William Neilsone 
(uhieftane of the Sleaght Ean Abrigh)," at page 403 of the Earldom 
of Sutherland, and about the year 1626. The Privy Council on 1st 
June, 1624, commissioned "William McKy of Achannes" and others 
to apprehend certain parties charged with misdemeanour. This shows 
that he had a wadset of Achness, and that he took a very prominent 
place among the Aberachs. In the House and Clan of Mackay he is 
said to have resided at Carnachy, and we shall afterwards show that 
Ills sons lived there. On the 9th January, 1609, he and his elder 
brother Murdo, accompanied by a considerable body of Aberachs, 
went to the assistance of John Sutherland of Millery, Latheron, a 
sister's son of Hugh Mackay of Strathnaver, who had a dispute with 
the Earl of Caithness over some property in Latheron. When the 
Aberachs arrived they found Taylor, an official of the Earl of 
Caithness, with a number of men arresting Sutherland's corn, cattle, 
etc. They at once set upon the earl's party, " bound them with cords 
and bowstrings," led them captive to a certain place, where "they 
stripped them naked, bereaving them of their weapons and entire 



clothes, and then chased them back again as naked as they were 
bom, exposing their bodies to the injury of a cold stormy day. They 
then stole from the lands of Berriedale horses, cows, etc., and drove 
them back to Strathnaver " (P.C. Reg., 9th March, 1609). To strip 
and lash home with the bowstring was a common mode of showing 
contempt for the person. 

William Mor m. Janet, dau. of Donald Balloch Mackay of Scoury, 
and had known issue two sons : — ■ 

i. Neil Williamson, of whom follows. 

ii. John, who removed from Carnachy to Thurso, where he became a 
merchant and burgess. In a bond by the first Lord Reay to 
Neil Williamson of Carnachy he is described as "John McKy 
alie Williamsoime in Carnache." In a bond by the same to 
himself, 6th March, 1636, he is described as "John McKy 
burgess Thurso " (Reay Papers). 

Vlld. Neil Williamson. In our memoir of the 2nd Lord 
Reay we give a brief account of him until he fell at Thurso in 1649. 
He m. , and had known issue five sons : — 

i. Robert, of whom follows. 

ii. Neil Neilson in Corrihuron, against whom the Earl of Caithness 
and others took out Criminal Letters, 6th February, 1667, for 
spoils which he and his brothers took out of Caithness in revenge 
for their father's slaughter (P.C. Reg. and Justiciary Record). 

Hi. Hugh Neilson in Mudale, whose name is included in the above 
Criminal Letters. 

iv. John Neilson in Corrihuran, also included in the above Criminal 
Letters, made many raids into Caithness as we record at page 

v. Angus Neilson in Skelpick, of whom afterwards as VHIg. 

vi. Donald Neilson, m. Christian, dau. of lye of Golval, son of 
William Mackay I. of Bighouse. 

VHId. Robert Neilson lived for a time in Moudale, as is 


stated in the Criminal Letters of 1667. In a sasine of Eriboll, 3rd 
November, 1707, witnessed by his eldest son Neil, he is designated 
"the deceased Robert Macky possessor of Achness." He m., 
first, , who bore him two sons : — 

i. Neil MacRobert of Clibrig, of whom follows. 

it. William Mor MacRobert, Achoul, of whom afterwards as IXe. 

Robert Neilson m., secondly, Elizabeth, dan. of Captain William 
Mackay of Borley (See Scoury Mackays), and widow of the Hon. 
Charles Mackay of Sandwood. The said Elizabeth granted a 
Judicial Renunciation to her eldest son, by the first marriage, of 
lands which she held in life-rent as spouse of the Hon. Charles 
Mackay, 8th March, 1705, and is therein described as "relict of the 
deceased Charles Mackay of Sandwood, and now spouse to Robert 
Mackay alias Neilson in Achness" (Reay Papers). Of the second 
marriage there were two sons : — 

Hi. John, had a tack of Moudale in 1736, and was a religious poet of 
no mean order, as some of his published pieces show. Rob 
Donn had a great admiration for John of Moudale, and 
composed an elegy to his memory in which the following stanza 
occurs, of which we also give a translation : — 

" Cuis ai'dain nan Abrach, 
Laimh laidir nach bagradh, 
Ian failteach macRaibert 'icNeil. ' 

The pride of the Aberachs, 

Strong of hand without menace, 

Genial John, the son of Robert, son of Neil. 

In the will of Major Hugh Mackay of Riarchar he was 
appointed one of the guardians of the said major's children, and 
is therein designated "Ensign John Mackay tacksman of 
Moudale" (Reg. of Deeds, Mackenzie Office, Vol. 179). As we 
showed in our memoir of the 3rd Lord Reay, he was the hero of 
the engagement at the Little Ferry, 1746, iti which the Earl of 
Cromartie was overthrown. He m. a dau. of Donald MacEachun 


Mackay of Skerray (See Strathy Mackays), and had issue 
three sons and four daus. : — 

1. George, emigrated to Virginia along with other relatives in 


2. Major Donald Mackay, tacksman of Eriboll, who m. Bessie, 

dau. of James Mackay, tacksman of Skerray, and had 
known issue a dau., Barbara (See Excursus below). 

Excursus. — Barbara Mackay m. Captain Mackay John Scobie of 
H.E.I.C., eldest son of Major John Scobie of the Beay Fencibles by his 
wife Barbara (d. at Keoldale, 1818), second dau. of John Mackay 5th of 
Strathy. Captain Scobie was for sometime tacksman of Melness, and in 
1815 removed to Keoldale, where he d., 1818, leaving three sons and 
three daus. : — 

1. Major-General Donald Mackay Scobie of H.E.I.C., who d. 

unmarried at Keoldale in 1878. 

2. John Scobie, tacksman of Lochinver 1848-82, and of Keoldale 

1878-89, where he d. the latter year. He m. a Miss Mackinnon, 
and had issue as follows : — Captain Neil Scobie of the Highland 
Rifle Militia, now in Montreal, m. a Miss Sulivan, with issue; 
Mackay John Scobie of the Indian Public "Works Department, 
m. Miss Louisa Scott, with issue ; James M. Scobie, now 
residing at Smoo House, Durness ; Donald, of the Indian Public 
Works Department, m. Miss J. MacEwen, and has issue ; 
Barbara, d. 1885 ; Alice ; and Mary, d. 1894. 

3. Mitchell Scobie, farmer in Australia, m. Flora Foibe3, and had 

issue, an only son : — Mackay John Scobie of the 42nd 
Highlanders, served in the Ashanti war, and d. at Musselburgh 
in 1894 as Lieut.-Col. of the 3rd Bat. Royal Scots. He m. 
Matilda Agnes Hamilton and left issue : — Donald, tea planter in 
Ceylon ; and Ian, still at school. 

4. Jane Scobie, m. Captain B. Mackenzie of Creich House, Creich, 

and had issue : — Boyce J. Mackenzie, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, 
who has issue by his second wife, Susan Townsend ; Mackay D. 
S. Mackenzie, manager of the National Provincial Bank of 
England, Clifton, m. Margaret Stevenson, with issue ; and John 
Mackenzie, Creich, m. but no issue. 

5. Bessie Scobie, d. at Smoo House, 1891. 

6. Barbara Scobie, d. at Smoo House, Durness, 1891, aged 80. The 

last two were fine specimens of the old, stately, generous 
Highland ladies of the past generation. 


3. Lieut. William Mackay, d. young. 

4. A dan. m. Hugh Mackay in Kylestrome, son of John 

Mackay and his spouse "Elizaheth Mackay, lawful dau. 
and only child of the deceased John Mackay, tacksman 
of Forsinain, also apparent heir of the deceased Angus 
Mackay, sometime tacksman of the said lands of 
Forsinain, her grand-uncle, who was also sometime 
curator to the deceased George Mackay of Bighouse " 
(Reg. of Deeds, Mackenzie Office, 22nd June, 1733). 
The known issue of Hugh in Kylestrome was a son : — ■ 
Colonel William Mackay. In a letter from Major James 
Mackay, a Judge in St. Louis, to his brother Captain 
Robert Mackay of Hedgefield, near Inverness, 5th 
November, 1 817, the following occurs : — " In 1785, before 
I left Canada for the north-west, Colonel William Mackay, 
a son of Hugh Mackay of Coylestrome in Lord Reay's 
country, who was an officer in the Queen's Rangers 
during the American Revolution, became acquainted 
with me and my friend .... at the same time he 
was preparing to settle on his land, in the Bay of Kenty, 
on Lake Ontario." 

5. A dau. m. Geor.e Morrison in Strathmore, chief forester 

to Lord Reay. 

6. Margaret, m. Robert Innes in Portchamil, and d. at 

Clashneach, 1823. 

7. Ann, m. James Duncan in Moudale, issue : — Lieut. John 

Duncan, who m. Christina Gunn, with issue. 

iv. William MacRobert, Tubeg, of whom afterwards as IXf. 

IXd. Neil MacRobert Mackay of Clibrig is described in a 
sasine of Eriboll, 3rd November, 1709, as "Neil Mackay, lawful son 
of the deceased Robert McKy, possessor of Achness." In a sasine of 
Arnaboll, 16th December, 1709, he is designed "Neil Mcky of 
Clibrig." He m. , and had known issue a son, of whom 


Xd. Robert MacNeil Mackay m. a dau. of Angus Mackay 
Xb., Kinlochbeg, and settled in Kinloch. He had issue three sons 
and four daus. — two of the latter dying young : — 


i. Hugh, known as Huistean na Brataich, removed to Thurso at the 
" Clearances," m. but no issue. 

ii. Robert, settled in Achintoul, m. and had issue. 

Hi. Angus, of whom follows. 

iv. Ann, m. Robert Gordon, Corriehuran, and bore Robert Gordon, 
Achness. Barbara Gordon, a dau. of Achness, became the 3rd 
wife of James Anderson, Risbond. 

v. Betty, m., as his 1st wife. Donald Bain Mackay, Achina, and had 

issue: — Angus, emigiated to America; Betty Mackay m. 

William Morrison, Achina, and d. in 1886, leaving issue; and 
other children d. without issue 

Xld. Captain Angus of the Reay Fencibles. He joined the 
Fencibles as Lieut., 25th October, 1794, and was promoted Captain, 
4th August, 1798, for bravery at the battle of Tara Hill (Reay 
Fencibles, by John Mackay, Hereford). He settled in Thurso after 
the regiment was disbanded, m. Forbes Mackay, and had issue a son 
and some daus. The Aberach banner passed to him on the death of 
his elder brother Angus. His only son was : — 

Hugh Angus Mackay, who d. unmarried at Thurso, 1881. When 
he d. the banner passed to a friend, Alexr. Mackay, assessor for 
Caithness, Thurso, as we show in our paper on the banner, an 
addendum to this Account. 

IXe. William Mor MacRobert Mackay, son of Robert 
Neilson VHId., is designed in a sasine of Eriboll, 4th November, 
1709, as "William McKy in Achoul." He is remembered as a 
leading layman in the Heights of Strathnaver, who took a great 
interest in things religious. He m. , and had a son, of whom 

follows : — 


Xe. William Mackat, tenant Grumbmore, who m. , 

and had an elder son, of whom follows : — 

Xle. William Mackat, who joined the 93rd Highlanders, 
leaving a wife and two children behind him. While serving abroad 
his wife and children were evicted like their neighbours to Naver, in 
consequence of the " Clearances." He m. Isabella Mackay, issue five 
children : — 

i. William, of whom follows. 

ii. Red path, tenant in Naver, d. in 1871, m. Barbara, dan. of John, 
son of Malcolm Mackay Xllh., and had issue as follows : — 
William, at present tenant in Naver ; Alexander ; John, in 
Australia; Jane m. Henry Mackay, Duneiden, N.Z., with ten 
children; Christie m. George Gillespie, and d. in 1899, leaving 
seven children, in Otago, N.Z. ; Williamina m. George Coats, 
Manchester, no issue ; Hughina ; Johan m. Alexander Mackay 
in Durness, and lias six children. 

Hi. Alexander, lost at sea. 

iv. Jane, became the 1st wife of Alexr. Manson, Dalcharn, Tongue. 

v. Kate, m. George Mackay, tenant in Naver, and d. in 1899, leaving 
four children : — George ; William ; John ; and Isabella (Mrs. 
George Mackay, Naver). 

Xlle. William Mackay, tenant in Leckvuirn, m. Lexy Mackay, 
issue two children : — William, of whom follows ; and Janet, m. 
William Marshall, now in New Zealand with a large family. 

Xllle. William, m. Ann, dan. of John Mackay, contractor, 
Achina, and d. at Iuishlampy, Naver, 1903, leaving eight children 1 : — 
William; John George; Hugh; Janet, m. Hugh Ross, Strathhalladale; 
Lexy ; Christina ; Jemima ; and Robina. 

1. For our account of William Mor MacRobert Mackay IXe. and his descendants we got 
much information from many living descendants residing in Naver. William Xllle. , who d. in 
1903, was patronymically known as " Uilleam nan ceithir Uilleaman, i.e., William of the four 
Williams, to indicate his descent for four generations from ancestors of the name of William. He 
was also looked upon as the hereditary bannerman of the Aberachs. 


IXf. William MacRobert Mackay, son of Robert Neilson 
VIIIcl., and tacksman of Tubeg, Mudale, like his two brothers, 
William Mor and John, took a very prominent part in the religious 
affairs of Strathnaver. He m. , and had four children : — 

i. Robert of Clibrig, of whom follows. 

ii, William, tenant in Achoul until 1810, during the "Clearances" 
evicted to Grnmbeg, and from thence again a few years 
thereafter. He retired to Wick, where he d. about 1828 
(Memorabilia Domestica, 2nd Ed., p. 230). An eminently pious 
man, his memory is still fondly cherished by the people of Farr. 
He m. Janet Mackay, and had a dau. who m. Rev. John 
Robertson, preacher in Strathnaver, but afterwards minister 
of Kingussie — the latter had issue. 

Hi. George, Lochnaver side, m. , and had four sons : — Captain 

John Mackay, Rogart ; Robert, in Kilmote ; Captain Donald, 
near Tain ; and Hugh, a merchant in Edinburgh. 

iv, Elizabeth Mackay m., first, Duncan Mathieson of Shiness to whom 
she bore Captain Donald Mathieson of Shiness, who m. 
Catherine, dau. of Rev. Thomas Mackay, Lairg (See Scoury 

She m., secondly, Dr. Archibald Campbell, and accompanied 
him to America about 1772. Her son, George Washington 
Campbell, became U.S. ambassador to St. Petersburg. 

Xf. Robert Mackay, tacksman of Clibrig, m. a dau. of Robert 
Mackay IXb., and had three sons, who all d. without issue, and one 
dau. : — 

i. Captain Hugh, of the Sutherland Fencibles, who d. in 1812, 
tacksman of Clibrig. 

ii. Lieut. William of the 93rd Highlanders, d. at Wick, unmarried. 

Hi. Thomas, who served in the 93rd Highlanders. 

iv. Janet Mackay, m. Hector Gunn, merchant, Thurso, with issue : — 


Lieut. George Gunn, R.N., afterwards factor for the Duke of 
Sutherland ; and a dau. (See EXCURSUS below.) 

VHIg. Angus Neilson, son of Neil Williamson Mackay Vlld. 
In a list of tenants on the Reay estate he is shown to have held lands 
in Skelpick, 16/8, of 50 merks yearly rental (Appendix No. 63). He 
had known issue a son, of whom follows : — 

IXg. William Mac Angus Mackay had sasine on a contract of 
wadset, 26th November, 1694, as "William McKy alias MacAngus, 
in Skelpick, and Effrick McKy his spouse .... on the town 
and lands of Skelpick, in the parish of Farr, for nine years for 250 
merks yearly." A witness to this contract was "William McKy 
minister at Dornoch," the Aberach chieftain. On the 20th June, 
1/18, "William MacAngus alias McKy, late of Skelpick, hoav of 
Carnoch," had sasine on a contract of wadset of the lands of 
Carnachy, for a sum of 3000 merks advanced to William, Lord 
Strathnaver. He had known issue, two sons : — 

i. John, of whom follows. 

Excursus. — Miss Gunn m. William Mackay, contractor, Clashedy, 
Tongue, and had issue : — 

1. George Mackay, m. a Miss Munro and has issue. He now lives 

in Clashedy, Tongue. 

2. Hector Mackay, teacher, Tongue, m. a dau. of the late Patrick 

Mackay, contractor, Colbacky, Tongue, with issue. Jessie, one 
of his daus., is m. to Dr. Murdo Mackay, Birmingham (See 
under Xlllh.). 

3. William Mackay, teacher, Latheron, m. Mary Chisholm, and d. a 

few years ago leaving the following issue : — Rev. George J., 
Caledon, Ontario ; Dr. John, Pelew, Newcastle, Canada ; Rev. 
Edward, Madoc, Ontario ; Dorothea (Mrs. Stewart, Latheron) ; 
Jessie (Mrs. Calder, Thurso). 



ii. Angus, of whom afterwards as Xh. 

Xg. John Mackay had a Precept of dare constat as heir to his 
father, 5th July, 1731, and had sasine of the lands of Carnachy on 
the 23rd of that month. He m. , and had known issue : — 

Thomas, of whom follows ; William ; Angus ; and John. 

Xlg. Thomas Mackay, tacksman of Carnachy, m. , and 

had known issue, three sons : — 

i. A son, tenant in Carnachy, m. a dan. of Macdonald, tacksman of 
Strathy. He had a son, settled as farmer in Cape Colony about 
1817, and a dau. m. to George Mackay XIa. 

ii. Another son, tenant of Knockan, Strathnaver, m. a dan. of 
Mathieson of Shiness, with issue :— Captain Donald Mackay of 
the 42nd Highlanders ; and Betty — neither of whom married. 

Hi. Captain William, of whom follows. 

Xllg. Captain William Mackay of the 93rd Highlanders, and 
tacksman of Skaill. He m., first, Elizabeth, dan. of Donald Mackay 
of Borgy (See Strathy Mackays), who bore him four children : — 

i. Donald, a tenant in Fair, who d. in 1874, m. a dau. of Alexander 
Mackay, Farr, and had an only dau., Elizabeth, who m. George 
Munro, Farr, issue four sons and one dau., all living in Farr. 

**'. William, d. at Crossburn, Tongue, 1866. unmarried. 

Hi. Jessie Mackay, m. a Mr. Young, merchant, Glasgow, issue :— John, 
in Demarara, d. without issue; and Ann m. a West Indian 
planter, no issue. 

iv. Elizabeth Mackay, m. Donald Murray, Glasgow, issue : — Eliza (See 
Excursus below) ; Patrick, deceased ; William Mackay Murray, 

Excursus. — Eliza Murray, m. William Donoon Young, issue : — 
Donald ; Charles ; Edward ; Elizabeth ; Catherine ; Jessie ; and J. A. 
Young, Osterley Court, Osterley, m. Mary Louisa, dau. of John Southam 
of Fallowfield Hall, Manchester, with issue. 


m. Margaret Morrison, now in Kilmun ; Rev. Hugh M. 
Murray, Fielding, Wellington, New Zealand ; and Barbara, 
Fielding, N.Z. 

Captain William Mackay of Skaill removed to Fair at the time of 
the " Clearances," and m., secondly, Hcnny Sutherland, niece of the 
Rev. William Mackenzie, Tongue, who bore him four children : — ■ 

John, a soldier, d. abroad ; Alexander, d. unmarried ; Grace, d. 
unmarried ; Barbara, m. William Mackay, Armadale, with issue 
five daus. (Henny ; Angusina ; Betty, m. George Mackay, now in 
Naver ; Mrs. Andrew Forbes, now in Armadale ; Mrs. David 
Mackie, Dalkeith). 

Xh. Angus Mackay, son of William Mac Angus Mackay IXg., 
witnessed a bond by John Mackay of Kirtomy, 4th July, 1/33, as 
"Angus Mackay lawful son of William Mackay of Skelpick" (Recti/ 
Papers). Owing to his fair hair, he, his children, and grand-children 
were known as Bain. He m. , and had known issue : — 

Angus, of whom follows ; and Alexander. 

Xlh. Angus, in Auchlochy, near Skelpick. It is a tradition in 
the family that he formed one of a party told off to help the 
Strathhalladale men to resist an expected invasion from Caithness 
during the '45, and that this party suffered much from exposure while 
watching the Drumholstein hills. It is recorded in the Book of 
Cromartie that Lord Macleod, son of the Earl of Cromartie, intended 
to invade Strathnaver from the Caithness side, but desisted on 
learning that the range of hills was held in force. Perhaps the 
tradition has some connection with Lord Macleod's project. He 
m., first, Janet Macleod, who bore him an only child Malcolm, of 
whom follows. 


He m., secondly, , and had issue : — William ; and a dau. 

who m. one of the Gordons of Skelpick, with issue (Angus Gordon ; 
Kate ; and Janet. These all removed to Brawl at the time of the 
" Clearances.") 

XIIIi. Malcolm, joined Lord Macleod's Highlanders in 1777, 
was severely wounded on the head and taken prisoner at the bloody 
battle of Perambaucum, India, 6th September, 1780. After 
remaining in the hands of Hyder Ali for a considerable time, he was 
set at liberty and invalided home. Thereafter he was drafted into a 
Highland regiment which proceeded to America, and obtained his 
discharge upon a pension about 1797- He was again, however, 
recalled as a pensioner in 1801, 1 and attached to one of the 
Provisional Regiments of Veterans doing garrison duty, but 
eventually the old wound on the head rendered him totally blind. 
He m. Barbara Mackay, and d. at Newlands, Farr, 1820, having 
issue five children : — 

i. James, served in the 78th Highlanders through the Java campaign 
of 1811, and d. of fever in that island after the regiment 
returned to quarters. 

ii. Donald, served in the Gordon Highlanders, and was killed at 
Waterloo towards the close of the clay by a stray cannon shot. 

Hi. Angus, of whom follows. 

iv. John, m. in Newlands and had a dau., Barbara, who m. Eedpath, 
son of William Mackay Xle. 

v. Alexander, d. unmarried, 1868. 

XHIh. Angus Mackay, in Rianchaitel, m. Jane, dau. of Donald 
Mackay, Riefail, and d. in 1824, leaving three sons: — 

i. John, in Achneskich, b. 1818 and d. 1897, m. Anne Mackay and 
had seven children : — John, d. unmarried 1901 ; Angus, 

1. Macdonald, the Skerray teacher, records in his Journal'. — " About the beginning of April. 
1801, there was a general call for the out-pensioners. Those of Caithness and the county of 
.Sutherland were ordered to appear at Dornoch on 30th April and 1st May. In consequence of the 
above order I appeared and was inspected by a doctor, but was returned unfit for garrison duty. 
A few only were ordered for garrison (I think there were only 12 kept out of 150), the rest were all 
dismissed, and got at the rate of a penny a mile to carry them home.' 


Inspector of Works, Adelaide, Australia, m. but d. without 
issue ; James, a contractor in St. Louis, U.S.A., m. Jessie , 

issue four children (John ; Angus ; Ann ; and Jessie) ; Eric ; 
Donald, merchant, Bettyhill, m. Janet Mackay, issue three 
children (Ann ; Jane ; Angnsina) ; Johan (Mrs. Durward), New 
York, no issue ; and Jane. 

ii. James, in Rianchaitel, b. 1822 and d. 1873, m. Isabella, dan. of 
Murdo Macdonakl, Achneskich, issue five children : — ■ 

1. Rev. Angus, U.F. Church, Westerdale, the writer of this 

book. He m. in 1901 Eva, dau. of Rev. Donald 
Mackenzie, U.F., Farr, and widow of Rev. Cathel Kerr, 
U.F., Melness, with issue two children : —James lye, b. 
14th February and d. 14th June, 1902; and James lye, 
b. 14th March, 1904. 

2. Murdo, M.A., M.B., CM., a medical officer in Birmingham, 

m. Jessie, dau. of Hector Mackay, teacher, Tongue, with 
issue : — James ; and Winniefred. 

3. 4, 5. Donald ; Jane ; and Annie. 

Hi. Donald, now (1905) tacksman of Achnabourin and Carnachy, m. 
Janet, dau. of Murdo Macdonald, Achneskich, issue four 
children : — James Angus, b. 1879 ; Murdo ; Jane m. James 
Mackay, Achargary, with issue (Mary ; and Janet) ; and 


The earliest reference to the Aberach -Mackay Banner of which 
we have any knowledge, meantime, is in an article ou Tongue parish 
in the First Statistical Account, written about 1/92, by the Rev. 
William Mackenzie, and is as follows : — 


" There is a cave in the rock upon which the castle [Varrich, near 
Tongue] is built called Leabuidh Evin ALaruich, i.e., John of 
Lochaber's bed, whither he is said to have retired in time of 
danger. A family of Mackays is descended from him, and are 
reported still to have in their possession his banner, with the 
motto wrought in golden letters, Biodh treun — Biodh treun, i.e., 
Be valiant." 

The writer of this article was inducted minister of Tongue in 
1/69, and laboured in that parish till his death in 1834; but before 
his settlement at Tongue he was minister at Achness, Farr, 1766-9, 
as we are informed by his descendant, James Macdonald, W.S., 
Edinburgh, and as the Presbyter]] Records show. His long and 
intimate acquaintance with the Mackays both along the valley of the 
Naver — where he had a daughter married and settled — and at 
Tongue, Lord Reay's seat, coupled with Lis taste for family lore, as 
Ave gather from Sage's Memorabilia Domestica, give considerable 
weight to his passing reference to the Aberach-Mackay banner. 
When he says that the banner of Ian Abcrach was then reported to 
be in the possession of his descendants, he was but relating what was 
traditionally believed during the latter half of the 18th century, viz., 
that this banner was the battle-flag of Ian Aberach, who led the 
Mackays at the battle of Drum nan Coup, 1433, and who became the 
progenitor of the Aberach-Mackays. The banner has occasioned a 
Gaelic proverb, known throughout the north of Sutherland and in 
daily use among Strathnaver people at the present day. When a 
Strathnaver man would express in Gaelic the idea conveyed by 
the English saying, "as old as the hills," he invariably uses the 
phrase, " cho sean ri bratach nan Abrach," i.e., as old as the Aberach 
banner. The banner, which is shown to be very old by this Gaelic 
proverb, is made to date from the earlier half of the 15th century in 
the tradition recorded by the Eev. Wm. Mackenzie ; while both 
proverb and tradition agree in saying that it was the flag of the 

In The House and Clan of Mackay, at p. 258, the historian relates 


that the Aberach " family-colours " were then in the possession of an 
Abcrach, residing at Thurso, called by the Highlanders Huistean na 
Brataich, i.e., Hugh of the Banner. Both in the body of the book 
and in the genealogical account he shows that this Hugh was the 
lineal descendant of Neil Williamson Mackay, who was killed at 
Thurso in 1649. He also states that the said Neil obtained 
possession of the said family colours, which rightly belonged to his 
uncle, Murdo Mackay, the chieftain, and in consequence of this act of 
usurpation bad feeling was engendered between uncle and nephew, 
but that Neil and his descendants continued to retain the banner 
henceforward. From this it appears that the banner descended 
lineally from sire to son, and was always possessed by the Aberach 
chieftain for the time being until shortly before 1649, when it passed 
into the possession of Neil. This also agrees with traditions among 
Strathnaver people at the present day. 

We offer the following explanation of the transference of the 
banner from the family of Murdo the chieftain to that of Neil his 
nephew. The Reay family and its adherents supported the falling 
cause of the Kings Charles I. and Charles II., while the Sutherland 
family and its adherents adopted the opposite and winning side. As 
a result of this policy, the estate of Donald, 1st Lord Reay, became 
so embarrassed that the lands of Strathnaver were practically all 
appreysed for debt, and charters over them were obtained by 
adherents of the house of Sutherland. But the Aberach-Mackays, 
who claimed the lands of Achness, etc., as theirs in virtue of the 
grant (Earld. of Suthr., p. 66) to their progenitor from his elder 
brother Neil Vass, about 1437, energetically resisted the niching of 
what they considered their property. In this struggle, Neil Mackay, 
nephew of the chieftain, was the leading spirit so long as he lived, 
and after his fall in 1649 the conflict was continued by his sons. In 
these circumstances it was but natural that Neil and his sons should 
possess themselves of the banner, as they were the virtual leaders 
of the Aberach-Mackays. But it is also quite likely that this 


caused friction between them and the family of the chieftain. 

The writer of this paper was born and brought up at the foot of 
the Naver valley, was intimately acquainted with old people who had 
been driven from the heights of the strath, in consequence of the 
"Sutherland clearances" in the second decade of last century, and 
was frequently an interested auditor of their tales and traditions. 
Many of them never read the History of the House and Clan of 
Mackay, but they were unanimous in saying that the Aberachs had a 
banner, and that this banner was safely preserved at Thurso during 
the seventies of last century. To one of these old people, William 
Mackay, army pensioner, Dalcharn, Bettyhill, we must make more 
particular reference. 

William Mackay was born at Rossal, near Achness, in 1797, 
joined the 78th Highlanders in 1823, and after an army service of 
twenty-two years, settled at Dalcharn in 1845, where he died in 
1893. Donald Mackay, father of the said William, married as his 
first wife Ann Mackay, sister of Huistean na Brataich, but William 
was a child of Donald's second marriage. As William the pensioner 
was a near neighbour of ours, we knew him intimately ; and he often 
used to tell us that for two years before he joined the army he resided 
at Whitefield, near Thurso, with his kinsman, commissary Donald 
Maeleod, a first cousin of Huistean na Brataich. During these 
years, 1821-3, Huistean na Brataich was a welcome and honoured 
visitor at Whitefield, and William, as he told us, saw the banner at 
different times. In 1842 William returned home on furlough, called 
at Thurso by the way, and was again shown the banner by Hugh 
Angus Mackay, nephew of Huistean na Brataich, in whose possession 
it then was. When in 1881 Hugh Angus, the said nephew, died at 
Thurso unmarried, William the pensioner was very anxious to secure 
the banner, and solicited our aid to this end, but it passed shortly 
afterwards into the possession of Alexander Mackay, assessor for the 
county of Caithness. The assessor died at Thurso, loth January, 
1895, leaving no issue, and towards the close of 1897 the 


administrators of his estate handed the banner over into the custody 
of the Clan Mackay Society, who in turn deposited it for preservation 
in the National Museum, Edinburgh, where it now rests. 

The Rev. Wm. Mackenzie, writing in 1792 from information 
gathered no doubt when he laboured at Achness during 1766-9, gave 
his testimony as already quoted. We are thus warranted in con- 
cluding that the banner was treasured by the Aberachs, about the 
middle of the 18th century, as the genuine flag of Ian Aberach and 
dating back to the first half of the 15th century. In 1829 the 
historian of the House and Clan of Mackay states that this banner 
was then in the possession of Huistean na Brataich at Thurso, 
and in more recent times the testimony of William the pensioner 
links us back to that of the historian. Among other traditions 
William the pensioner told us that this banner was carried, and nearly 
lost, by the Aberachs in a fierce encounter which they had on the 
Strath of the Naver with Sliochd Ean Ruaidh, another family of 
Mackays. This we take to be the battle above Syre, to which Sir 
Robert Gordon refers in the Earldom of Sutherland ; and as it was in 
revenge of the slaughter of William Beg Mackay, killed at Durness 
about 1579, it must have taken place not long thereafter. The site 
of this battle and the trench where the dead lie buried are well 
known, on the height above the old house of Syre. If this tradition 
be correct, it carries us back to the days of Neil MacEan 
MacWilliam, grandfather of Neil who was killed at Thurso, and 
great-great-grandson of Ian Aberach. On the next page we give a 
key pedigree of the possessors of the Aberach-Mackay banner from 
the progenitor of the family downwards. 

The banner is of cream-white silk — hence the name Bratach 

Bhan, i.e., Fair Banner, by which it is sometimes known — and is in 

a tattered condition. It is very evidently a fragment of its former 

self. Its length is only 36 inches, and its breadth about 20 inches — a 

size far too small for a battle flag. It will be observed that the 

shield and crest are not now r correctly related to the hoist, or leather 


Jaeu 12feMgrec: ^f)e possessors of tfje 
Jlberctrf) fanner. 


I. Ian Aberach-Mackay, fought at 
Drum nan Coup, 1433. 

II. Wm. Du, fought at 
Aldicharrish, 1487. 


III. Wm., k. at Loch 

Salchie, 1517. 

Donald, also k. at 
Loch Salchie. 

IV. Thomas. John, -witnessed a sas. And others, 

of Langdale, 1548. 

V. Neil MacEan MaeWilliam, 
witnessed a sas., 1571. 

VI. Murdo, marriage 
contract, 1615. 

A quo the chieftains. 

William Mor, a 
commission, 1624. 

VII. Neil Williamson, k. at 
Thurso, 1649. 


VIII. Robert Neilson, 

Criminal Letters, 1667. 

And others. 

IX. Neil MacRobert of Clibrig, 
witnessed a sas., 1709. 

And others. 

X. Robert MacNeil, Kinloch, 
c. 1760. 

XI. Huistean na Brataich, in 
Thurso, 1829, aged 80. 


Captain Angus. 

XII. Hu«h Angus Mackay, d. at 
Thurso, 1881. 




strip, sewn along what is shown as the top of the flag in the 
photographic reproduction, fig. 1. As related to the hoist, the shield 
now lies unnaturally on its side instead of facing it, and the lion 
rampant which it carries is made to appear as a lion passant. 
Evidently the leather hoist became detached when the flag got 

Fig. 1. The Aberach Mackay Banner. (From a photograph.) 

tattered, and was then by misadventure sewn to the wrong side. If 
we imagine the hoist attached to what is shown as the left side of the 
flag in fig. 1, the shield and crest will appear correctly placed ; the 
flag will be 36 inches broad, or allowing for frayed margins, perhaps 
38; while its length may have extended to 50 inches or more. Sir J. 


Balfour Paul, Lyon King of Arms, in a letter of 14th March, 1899, 
writes : — 

"If it is a banner, the principal armorial charge on it is represented in 
an unusual manner, as it does not face the hoist of the flag, which is the 
usual practice, but the bottom of it." 

We think we have explained how it came to present this unusual 
and unnatural, appearance. He proceeds : — 

"The charge referred to is evidently intended for a lion rampant ; 
round the lion, at some distance from it and following the shape of a 
shield, have been at one time two thin lines representing, in my opinion, 
the outer and inner members of a double trcssure. On the top horizontal 
line of this tressure, and projecting outwards from it, are five ornamental 
floreated objects, the centre one of which has a corresponding projection 
on the inner side of the tressure ; in the middle of the vertical line down 
each side of the bends where the base begins to converge to a peak, and 
at the peak itself, there are similar objects all projecting both on the 
outer and inner sides of the tressure. What these objects are intended to 
represent is difficult to decide definitely ; some of them might possibly be 
classed as thistles, some as fleur-de-lys, but none of them possesses such 
characteristics as would enable one to put them down distinctly as one or 

the other The whole flag is evidently the work of some 

•one unacquainted with the principles of heraldic design." 

The design is rudely executed as may be understood by an 
examination of fig. 1, and the Lyon King is guarded in expressing 
his opinion as becomes one occupying his high office, but we venture 
to think that what he states so guardedly is an undoubted fact. The 
shield is traced out by the two lines of the double tressure, surrounded 
by thistles and fleur-de-lys, and carries the lion rampant. The 
heraldic significance of the double tressure and fleur-de-lys is royal 
descent. This is shown by the following extract of grant (Sutherland 
Book, iii, p. 220) by King George I. to the Earl of Sutherland, 14th 
July, 1718: — 

" George R. Whereas it has been humbly represented to us that our 
right trusty and well -beloved cousin John, Earl of Sutherland, is lineally 
descended from William, Earl of Sutherland, and Lady Margaret Bruce, 


second daughter to Robert the First, King of Scotland 

therefore .... and in consideration of the nobleness of his blood, 
as being descended not only from the ancient thanes and earls of 
Sutherland, but from the royal family of Scotland, as is aforesaid, we 
hereby authorise and order our Lyon King at Arms ... to add to 
the paternal coat of arms of the said John, Earl of Sutherland, the 
double tressure circonfleurdelize." 

It is now well known that the only son of the marriage between 
William, Earl of Sutherland, and Lady Margaret Bruce died 
unmarried, and that the family of Sutherland is descended of the 
second wife Joanna Menteith. But into that matter we need not go 
further here. We have shown already that Ian Aberach was a son of 
Angus Du Mackay by his second wife, a daughter of Alexander 
Macdonald of Keppoch, and a great-grand-daughter of King Robert 
II. It was probably because of this royal descent that Ian Aberach 
put such a charge upon his banner. The sons of Angus Du Mackay, 
although natives of the then rude north of Scotland, were not 
unacquainted with the heraldry of the period. Neil, eldest son of 
Angu Du by his first marriage, was for ten years in the south a 
hostage of the king, and spent some of that time on the Bass Rock 
while Ian Aberach is said to have been fostered in Lochabcr, and 
may have sojourned at the semi-royal court of his kinsman the Lord 
of the Isles. However rudely 1 the designs on the banner may be 
executed the son of Angus Du had some knowledge of heraldry, and 
gave expression to what he considered he was entitled to on this flag. 

Let the reader look again at the flag as represented in fig. 1, and 
it will be seen that there is a crest above the shield. The crest 
consists of a hand, erased, appaume, that is with extended fingers 
showing the palm. Round the hand runs the legend vekk visly 
and tent to YE end. Across the palm of the hand are the Gaelic 
words be tren, be valiant, as the Rev. William Mackenzie recorded 
about 1792 in his account of the parish of Tongue. John Mackay of 

1. The banner of Hnntly captured at Flodden is also rudely done, and its heraldry is not in 
Accordance with the technical rules laid down by the College of Heralds. We direct our readers' 
attention to a representation of that banner in Proceedings of the Ant. Soc. Scot., XXXVI., 251. 


Herrisdale, author of An Old Scots Brigade, etc., states in the June 
Celtic Monthly, 1893, that Hugh Angus Mackay, the last Aberach 
hereditary bannerman, told him that his father always understood and 
read the words on the palm of the hand as Bidh treun, Be valiant. 
Of course, Mr. Mackay wrote these words adopting the modern Gaelic 
spelling. The final letter of tren is not well-formed, and this has 
led some modern students to read it tren. true, but it was intended 
for tren, valiant, and so understood by the Aberach Mackays. 

As is well known among Strathnaver people Bi tren, Be valiant, 
is the slogan of Mackay, which became Latinised into manu forti, the 
motto of Mackay since the family was dignified. The old Gaelic 
motto is neater and pithier than the modern Latin one, a concoction 
of the College of Heralds. Forti adequately expresses the idea of 
"be valiant," and the manu with a hand seems to us superfluous. 
Ian Aberach may not have been well up in the science of heraldry as 
it is understood to-day, but he knew how to express himself briefly 
and to the point in his mother-tongue. 

As this was not the banner of the principal family of Mackay, now 
represented by the Lords of Reay, but of the Aberach-Mackays, the 
oldest cadet line of that family, we naturally expect to find some 
difference between the arms of the principal family and that of the 
cadet. The armorial bearings of Donald, 1st Lord Reay, of which 
we give a coloured plate in our memoir of him, were as follows :■ — 

"Arms. — Azure on a chevron, or, between three bears' heads, couped, 
argent, muzzled, gules, a roebuck's head, erased, between two hands 
holding daggers, all proper. 

Crest. — A right hand holding up a dagger, paleways, proper. 

Motto.— Manu forti. 

Supporters. — Two men in military habits with muskets, in a centinel 
posture, proper." 

In our description of the arms above we have copied word for 
word from a paper among the Reay Papers, in the handwriting of the 
close of the 18th century. Another document in the said Reay 



Papers gives the arms of the 5th Lord Reay in the following quainter 
language : — 

" Saphire, on a Chevron Topaz, between three Bears' Heads couped 
Pearl and muzzled Ruby, a Roebuck's Head erazed Ruby, between two 
Hands holding Daggers, all Proper. 

Crest. — On a wreath, a Right Hand couped and erect, grasping a 
dagger as those in the Arms. 

Supporters. - Two Men in a Military Dress, with Muskets in a 
Centinel Posture, all Proper. 

Motto.— Manu Forti." 

Before the family was dignified in the person of Donald, 1st Lord 
Reay, 20th June, 1628, the arms were "argent over three mullets, 

Fig. 2. Stone with armorial bearings at Kirkton, Strathhalladle. 

azure, a hand naked, proper," of which we give a coloured plate in 
our memoir of lye Roy Mackay X. of Strathnaver. Sir J. Balfour 
Paul, Lyon King, in a letter of 6th November, 1899, writes : — 

I am much obliged by the Rev. A. Mackay pointing out the entry in 
Sir James Balfour of the arms of 'Mackay of Strathnaver 1503,' as 
consisting of 'argent over three mullets azure, a hand naked proper.' 


This is given immediately before ' Mackay of Strathnavern now Lord 
Reay,' who is assigned the present arms of the Baron. The presumption 
is that they altered their arms on the creation of the Peerage, and this 
view is rather supported by Nisbet, who, in giving the arms, says that 
' since that family was dignified ' their achievement was, etc." 

That is to say, according to the Balfour MS., the shield of 
Mackay of Sfcrathnaver in 1503 bore "a naked hand" without a 
dagger, just as is represented on the banner. But such a charge is 
also found on at least two Mackay tombstones known to us. Fig. 2 
is a representation of the Kirkton stone. It bears the initials A.M.K., 
of Angus Mackay II. of Bighouse ; and the date 1630 indicates that 
it was erected over the tomb of his first wife, Jane Elphingstone, 
niece of Lord Elphingstone, who died that year. The stone was 
found in 1894 among the ruins of Kirkton Chapel, 1 and is now fixed 
on the pillar of the Kirkton Cemetery gate. The shield is peculiarly 
divided into two halves by a horizontal line. Above the horizontal or 
fess line, and in the dexter division, there is a roebuck's head pierced 
by an arrow exactly similar to the emblem on the Tongue stone 
(fig. 4). In the sinister division there are three bears' heads. Below 
the fess bar there is a hand with fingers extended, resembling the 
crest on the banner, and flanked by what appears to be two blades. 
These flanking daggers may indicate the transition from a " naked 
hand " to a " hand holding a dagger," for it was shortly before this 
that Donald Dughall was created Lord Reay. 

Within the ruins of the old church of Durness there is a stone 
over the tomb of Donald MacMurdo Maclan Mor, of which a 
representation is given in fig. 3. The said Donald was a grandson of 
Ian Mor Mackay — the natural son of John XL of Strathnavcr — and 
not a Macleod as is erroneously stated in the House and Clan of 
Mackay. There was a family of Macleods in Assynt called Sliochd 
Ian Mhor, but this was " Donald MacMurdo Maclan Mor, chieftain 

1. In 1274, and also in the following year, a collection was raised in this chapel towards the 
Crusades (Theiner's Man. Vet.). It was used as a Protestant place of worship for many years after 
the Reformation, but it is now a shepherd's kail-yaid ! This is one of the fruits of the miserable 
*' Clearances." 



of the Slaight Ean Woir in Strathnaver," according to Sir Robert 
Gordon (Earld. of Suthr., 254). Now Sir Robert, for reasons of his 
own, would never allow that Durness and Edderachilis formed part 
of the country of Strathnaver — he was wrong in this, as we showed 
in our Introductory chapter — so that the Sliochd Ean Woir of which 
Donald was chieftain could not possibly be the Assynt Macleods, as 
the tribe is said to have been a Strathnaver one. Besides, the 
account which Sir Robert gives of Donald MacMurdo Maclan Mor 

Fig. 3. Tombstone in the old Church of Durness. 

and his adherents clearly indicates that he was a Mackay. Angus 

MacKenneth MacAlister, who was slain at Hope about 1605, was a 

dependant of the said Donald (Earld. of Suthr., 253), and laid claim 

to some lands on Strathfleet. As John Mackay of Strathnaver, father 

of Ian Mor, got a grant of these Strathfleet lands from the Earl of 

Sutherland in 1518 (Appendix No. II), and had as a dependant 

Alister, grandfather of Angus MacKenneth MacAlister, we are 

justified in concluding that the grandson, who clung to these lands, 

still depended on a descendant of the house from which his grand- 



father got them. Ian Mor, son of John Mackay, had at least five 
sous, viz., "Neil M'Ane Moir, Rory M'Ane Moir, Murdoch M'Ane 
Moir, John M'Ane Moir, and Tormat M'Ane Moir." (Pitcairn's 
Criminal Trials, I, 352). Murdo M'Ane Moir, tlie third mentioned, 
was the father of Donald MacMurdo MacEan Mor, who is buried at 
Durness. Now the shield over Donald's tomb 1 bore as shown in fig. 
3, along with other charges, " a hand " with extended fingers, and a 
stag's head. There are no daggers associated with the " hand " here, 
because in 1619 we have not yet reached what we have called the 
transition period. In 1619 it was simply a "hand" just as on the 
banner; in 1630 the hand is flanked by two daggers; and after that 
period, as the tombstones of Strathnaver prove, the hand holds a 

The crested hand on the flag is clearly Mackay, and so also is the 
motto be tren, the slogan of the clan. Indeed, the peculiar use of 
the word treun by Strathnaver people in daily conversation strikes 
one from other parts of the Highlands at once. Everything 
superlative they describe as treun. A fine day is la treun, a good 
horse each treun, and so on the whole round of the gamut. We are 
strongly inclined to believe that the frequent use of this vocable may 
be ascribed to the place which it had in their war-cry, in the old days 
when the war-cry rang out so often. Of the legend round the crested 
hand we can offer no explanation. 

The charge on the shield, a lion rampant surrounded by the 
double tressure and fleur-de-lys, is altogether different from that of 
the principal family of Mackay. In crest and motto the charges 
practically agree, in shields they are far apart. On the Tongue stone, 
however, which is represented by fig. 4, the shield is supported by 
two lions surmounted by pendant thistles. This stone is built into 
the wall of Tongue House, and bears the initials, D.M.K., of Donald 

1. The stone which covers his grave bears the following inscription, said to have teen 
composed by the 1st Lord Reay in a frolicsome moment — 

" Donald Mak-Murchon heir lyis lo : 
Vas il to his friend, var to his fo : 
True to his maister in veird and vo." 



Master of Reay, who rebuilt the house in 1678 after it had been 
completely destroyed by fire. The said Master of Reay, who 
predeceased his father, was fostered among the Aberachs, and 
probably out of compliment to that family adopted as the supporters 
of his shield the lions, surmounted by thistles, which are found on the 
Aberach flag. We cannot imagine any other reason for diverging 
from the " armed men " which his grandfather, father, and successors 

As the Aberach chieftains never recorded arms at Herald's Office 
nor put them on tombstones, so far as known to us, the flag alone 

Fig. 4. Stone built into the wall of Tongue House. 

tells what they took the liberty of using. But this we may say, they 
have a better title to carry "the double tressure circonfleurdelize " 
than the house of Sutherland, notwithstanding the grant of King 
George I. already referred to. 

The tinctures which characterise the armorial bearings of the 
Lords of Reay are azure, or, and argent, or in other words blue, gold, 
and white ; and these are the colours in which the design on the 
Aberach banner is worked. The flag or Bratach Bhan is white. The 
body of the design is in blue thread, the outwards are in gold now 
considerably faded. The lion and outer portion of the floreated 


objects round the double tressure are strongly blue, so are the bars on 
the wrist and the letters, but the extended fingers are in gold. There 
are no red threads in the design, so far as we can judge, although 
there is a little red in the bearings of the Reay family. With this 
exception the Aberach tinctures are exactly those of the principal 
family of Mackay. Though the banner has little artistic merit, it 
claims to be one of the oldest clan banners now existent in Scotland, 
and we are glad that it is safely preserved in the National Museum, 
Edinburgh, after its long and stormy career of close upon five 
hundred years. 

The sinister hand which is so characteristic of Mackay arms is not 
a common device on Highland coats of arms. It seems, however, to 
have been a charge borne by M'Neil of Gigha, one of whose daughters 
married Donald Mackay III. of Strathnaver in or about 1300 A.D. 
" Lauchlan M'Neil of Tearfergus, descended of the family of M'Neil 
of Geigh," as Nisbet informs us, bore " a sinister hand couped 
fesse-ways in chief." The Neilsons and O'Neil of Ulster also carried 
a somewhat similar hand. The arms of O'Neil, according to 
"Woodward and Burnett, were " Argent, a hand appaume [i.e., open, 
showing the palm] couped, gules." It is just possible that the hand 
passed from O'Neil of Ulster to M'Neil of Gigha, and from the latter 
to Mackay. 

As for the three stars or mullets on the shield of " Mackay of 
Strathnavern, 1503," they may indicate the Moray connection, for it is 
generally supposed that the old family of Moray bore three stars, and 
that these charges are now borne by the Douglasses, Sutherlauds, 
Inneses, Brodies, etc., because they have entered into the ancient 
inheritance of that family. Something of the same kind happened 
when the family of Macdonald of the Isles stepped into the shoes of 
the Norwegian earls of Caithness and the Isles. On the outside 
board of the Book of Clan Donald the old arms of Macdonald are 
stamped, viz., a galley with a crowned mast. We beg to tell the 
Macdonalds that they " lifted " this device. We have been permitted 


to examine a number of plaster-casts at Thurso, taken by the late Dr. 
Sinclair, about sixty years ago, from seals attached to ancient 
documents lying in Barrogill Castle, and belonging to the old earls of 
Caithness. Among these casts there is one labelled of the 13th 
century, and representing the seal of the Earl of Caithness, which is 
an exact fac-simile of what appears on the Book of Clan Donald to 
the minutest detail. The explanation is simple. When the Lords of 
the Isles obtained the sovereignty of the western seas, after the 
disappearance of the Xorse earls of Caithness, they took the seal and 
arms of their predecessors, a galley with a crowned mast. In a 
similar fashion, perhaps, the Douglasses, Sutherlands, Brodies, etc., 
took the three stars of Moray. 


II. ^I)c gcom-g ^Tacfeay; 

Arms of General Hugh, 3rd of Scoury. 
(from his own seal) 

1. Donald Balloch 1 son of lye Du Mackay XII. of Strath- 
naver by his wife and cousin, Helen, dan. of Hngh Macleod of Assynt, 
was the first of this family. In 1500 he played the part of a skilful 
and gallant leader at the battle of Clynetradwell, near Brora, saving 
the situation for the Earl of Caithness whom he assisted that day. 
He had under his command a strong force of archers drawn from 
Assynt, Strathnaver, Caithness, and Orkney, who were three times 

1. Donald Balloch means Donald of the Spot— a birth-mark prohahly. 




thrown into confusion and as often reformed by Donald Balloch, 
■whose personal prowess at last turned the tardy scale of victory to 
the admiration of even his fierce opponents (Earld. of Suthr.). 

He had a charter of Alienation from his brother, Huistean Du of 
Strathnaver, of the town and lands of Kinlochbervie, Scouriemore, 


£\co pedigree. 

Donald Balloch, son of 
lye Du XII (See p. 97). 


1 1 

Neil. Hugh, had 
sas. 1634 


Donald of Borley. 

(Line a) 



1 1 1 1 
Donald. Wm. Hector. Hugh, k. 


William, a 
coin. 16S5. 



Angus, k. 16S9 
(Line c.) 

Hugh, d. 






Hugh, had 




Rev. John, 

d. 1735. 

(Line b.) 





II u g h , d. 1775, 
leaving a dau. 


Rev. Thomas, 
d. 1S03. 

J o h n , 


J o h n , d. 

no issue. 

W i 1 1 i a m 

d. 1S2G. 


John, d. 1851. 


George, d. 1900. 


George, with issue. 

Scouriebeg, Eriboll, etc., 31st December, 1605 (Reay Papers). He 
m. Euphemia, dau. of Hugh Munro of Assint, Ross, a brother of 
Robert Munro of Fowlis, and granted her sasine in liferent and to 
their elder son, Neil, in feu of the above lands, 25th February, 1606. 
The issue of this marriage was four sons and four daughters : — 

i. Neil, had sasine of his father's estate on a Precept of dare constat, 
19th April, 1620, and on the same da}', with consent of his 
brother Hugh, resigned " for ane great sum of money from his 


superior, Sir Donald Maky, all and sundrie the lands of 
Keandloichberwie, Nahardin, Fanzidell, Laxfourd with ye 
salmond fescheing of ye samyne, Scowriebeg, Scowriemoir, 
Tarbet, Caldstrombeg, Caldstromemoir, Edderachylis, Islanhanda, 
Saudowatt, Alschelourbeg, Alschleormoir, Yrsgill, Bad call, 
Dowart, Naferss (?), G-eiskill, lyand betwix the merches of the 
water of Kylescoug at ye sowthe, ye fylm of Glencowiles and 
the mainesey at ye wast and northe plis, the Beallache of 
Corriechowne at ye eist sd. And all and heal the half dawache 
landis of Ilanryr and dawache landis of Erbill wt ye lands of 
Ilandchory, lyand within ye baronie of Wastmoine." (Reay 

ii. Hugh of Scoury, of whom follows. 

Hi. Donald of Borloy, of whom afterwards as Ha. 

iv. William, Captain in the 1st Lord Reay's Scots regiment serving in 
the Thirty Years War. He afterwards became Lieut. -Col. of a 
Swedish regiment, and fell at Lutzen, near Leipzig, in 1632, 
where also fell King Gustavus Adolphus, under whose banner 
he fought. 

v. Margaret, m. Alexander Sutherland of Kilphedder. 



. Janet, m. William Mor, son of Neil MacEan MacWilliam, the 
Aberach chieftain (See Aberach Mack ays). 

Christian, m. Murdo, eldest son of Neil MacEan MacWilliam, the 
Aberach chieftain (See Aberach Mackays). 

vii. Ann, m. John Tarrel of Strathflete. 

II. Hugh, obtained a wadset of the lands of Eriboll in 1626 for 
£2000 Scots, which he disponed in 1634 to Hector Munro of Pitfure 
who came to reside at Eriboll, and whose descendants retained these 
lands for three generations. Hugh purchased from Lord Reay the 
estate of Scoury which his brother Neil had disponed, and had sasine 
of it 2/th June, 1634. We give the following extract of the 
disposition in his favour, preserved among the Reay Papers. 

"Be it kend till all men be thir put. Irs. Me, Donald Lord Rae, 
heritable proprietor of the lands and others, and for certain great soumes 


of money reallis and with effect advancit, payed, and delyvered to me for 
making of thir puts, be our trustie cousing, Hew Makie of Ereboll, of the 
qlk. soumes of money we hold us weill contentit, completely satisfied and 
payed, and renuncing the exceptione of non numeratio money, aith of 
pairty, and all uther exceptions competent be the law, we exoner and 
discharge the said Hew Makie his airs and excrs. of the samen be thir 
presentis simpliciter and for ever, to have saule and in few ferme and 
heritage analret and dispontit, Lykeas we for the onerous causes forsaid 
instantly and in few ferme and heritage sell, annalzrie, and dispone to the 
said Hew Makie his airs maill and assigneys, heretablie, irredemablie, and 
bot onie kyne of reversione, rogress, or redemption qlksomever, All and 
sundrie the lands, feschings, woods, and grassings of Edderachilis with 
their pertinents whatsumever undermentioned, viz., All and heal the 
davach lands of Killstromes, the lands of Douartmoir, Dourtbeg, the 
lands of Geiskill, the lands of Badchuill, the lands of Skouriemore, 
Skouriebeg, the lands of Tarbeit, the lands of Ffynidew, the lands of 
Rieroy, the lands of Auchtavikfarie, All and heal the ylland of Handa, 
with all and sundrie the yllands of Dewroy, Mell-alands, Galway, with all 
the other yllands qtsomever lyand betwixt the Stoirhead in Assin at the 
west and the river of Laxford at the eist, with which the lands are 
boundit, and that as follows, viz., Glencoul and Killkaik at the south and 
south-west, the sea at the north till the water at Laxfuird and as the said 
water of Laxfuird descends from Knockan-Kelloch and fra that to 
Loichmore and to Lochstak and therefrae to the sea, which waters as they 
run from Knockan-Kelloch to the sea are the marches cognoscit to devyd 

the said lands of Eddruchilis from Diridmore and the Ard 

all lyand within the parrochein of Ardierurness, in Strathnaver, and 
shirriffdom of Sutherland." 

In 1643 Scoury was appointed a commissioner of supply for the 
shire of Sutherland, and in 1648 a member of the War Committee 
(Acts of Pari.). In 1649 he was taken prisoner at Balveny Castle, 
and in 1650 was appointed by Parliament colonel of a Fencible 
regiment to be raised in the north, and again in 1661 was 
re-appointed a commissioner of supply (Acts of Pari, and Balfour's 
Annals). For the part which he took in supporting Charles II. his 
estate was apprised in payment of fines and pretended debts, but 
General Mackay, his son and successor, managed to clear away these 
encumbrances. He m. Ann, dau. of John Corbet of Arkboll, Ross, 
and had issue six sons and three dans. : — ■ 

i. Donald, who d. young (Blk. MS.). 



ii. William, who was driven ashore near Thurso by stress of weather, 
14th February, 1668, east into a foul dungeon in said town, and 
after some days of cruel confinement put aboard an open boat 
which set out for Scoury, but he died on the passage. This 
barbarous treatment was due to a feud between the Mackays 
and the Sinclairs at the time. 

Hi. Hector, waylaid and murdered in Aberdeenshire by Sinclair of 
Dnnbeath and three others, 11th August, 1668. In consequence 
of these misdeeds, the Mackays obtained Letters of Fire and 
Sword against the Sinclairs, as we show in our memoir of the 
2nd Lord Reay. 

iv. General Hugh Mackay, of whom follows. 

The other children were: — Col. James, k. at Killicrankie ; Roderick, 
who took the oath as Provost-Marshal of the Scots regiment in 
Holland, 11th June, 1677; Barbara, who became the second 
wife of the 2nd Lord Reay ; Elizabeth, m. Hugh Munro of 
Eriboll (and had an elder son John, who disponed Eriboll to 
Captain Mackay of Bnrley in 1700, and m. Rachel, dau. of 
Angus Mackay IV. of Bighouse) ; and Ann, m. the Hon. William 
Mackay of Kinloch, son of Donald, 1st Lord Reay, with issue 
given already. 

III. General Hugh Mackay of Scoury, known among his 
countrymen as An Shenilir Mor, The Great General, to distinguish 
him from other generals of the name of Mackay. In our memoir 
of the 3rd Lord Reay we gave an account of his life to which we 
now refer the reader. He m. at Bommel in Guelderland Clara de 
Bie, a Dutch lady of noble extraction, and had issue a son and three 
<laus. : — 

Hugh, of whom follows. 

The daus. were : — Margaret, m. George, 3rd Lord Reay, with 
issue ; Anna Barbara, m. Mr. Reyard, minister of Nimeguen ; 
and Mary, m. Mathew Linyindeck, burgomaster of Nimeguen. 

IV. Hugh, only son of General Mackay, was given a company in 
his father's Scots regiment, 1st September, 1692, and d. at Cambrai 
in 1708 of an accident received in the field, holding the rank of 


major. He m. Anna tie Lancy, a Swiss lady, who bore him two sons 
and one dau. : — 

i. Hugh, of whom follows. 

ii. Gabriel, became captain in Halket's Scots regiment 20th November, 
1730, colonel 1st April, 1748, and was dead in 1758 (Scots 
Brigade in Holland). 

Hi. Clara Margaret, m. Baron Ren Duyck, and had issue :— James 
Charles Ren Duyck, m. Baroness Louisa Neuvenherm, with 
issue ; and Anna, m. Major General J. W. Van der Hup, and 
had issue living in 1828 (Blk. MS.). 

V. Hugh, became captain in one of the Scots regiments in the 
service of Holland on 20th September, 1/29, and lieut.-general in 
17/2. As a special mark of honour he was made honorary colonel of 
his grandfather's old regiment of Scots, 1/th December, 1773 (Scots 
Brigade in Holland, ii., 122). He m. Isabella de Savornin, and d. 
at Breda 9th July, 1775, leaving issue an only dau. of whom 
follows : — 

Anna Louisa Mackay, m. Lieut. -General Prevost, colonel of the 
60th Foot, and Lord of Belsinge in the Republic of Genoa. On 
the 5th September, 1775, General Prevost "obtained his 
Majesty's Royal Licence and authority for himself and his issue 
by his wife Anne Louisa, to assume and take the surname of 
Mackay, and also to bear the arms of Mackay of Scoury in the 
shire of Sutherland, pursuant to the will of Hugh Mackay of 
Scoury, Escpr., deceased at Breda, late lieut.-general and colonel 
of his Majesty's regiment of Infantry in the service of the States 
General" (London Gazette, September, 1775, and Blk. MS.). 
They had issue : — James Mackay-Prevost, lieut.-general in the 
60th Foot, 19th August, 1777; and two daus. 

Ila. Donald Mackay of Borley, Durness, third son of Donald 
Balloch of Scoury, resided for some time at Iddenmore in the same 


parish. He was along with Lord Reay at the affair of Balveny in 
1649, and was a prominent Royalist. He m. Christiana, dau. of the 
Rev. Robert Munro, Creich, Sutherland, and had known issue four 
sons : — 

i. William, of whom follows. 

ii. Angus, of whom afterwards as IIIc. 

Hi. Major lye of Keoldale, m., first, Eupham Mackay, who bore 
him: — John in Balmulich, Durness, 1723; Hugh; Anna, m. 
Hector Munro ; and Christina. He also m. a second time. 

iv. Donald. 

Ilia. Captain William of Borley, a zealous Royalist, led a 
company of Mackays at the battle of Worcester, was appointed a 
commissioner of supply for the shire of Sutherland by the Parliament 
of 1685, and also by that of 1691. He m. Elizabeth, dau. of 
Alexander Corbet of Arkboll, Ross, with issue three sons and 
five daus. : — 

i. Captain Hugh, of whom follows. 

ii. Donald, whose connection with the Darien expedition we described 
in our memoir of the 3rd Lord Reay, pp. 173-4. 

Hi. Rev. John, of Lairg, of whom afterwards as IVb. 

iv. Elizabeth, m., first, the Hon. Charles Mackay of Sandwood (See 
Sandwood Mackays), secondly, Robert Neilson Aberach 
Mackay (See Abeeach Mackays), and thirdly, John Grey of 
Rhine, Rogart, who gave her sasine in life-rent of the lands of 
Rhine in virtue of their contract of marriage, 2nd December, 

v. Barbara, m. Hector Mackay of Skerray (See Strathy Mackays). 

vi. Christina, m. Hugh Munro of Achany, and had sasine of Achany, 
etc., in life-rent, 3rd February, 1691. 

vii. Isobell, m. John Mackay of Melness (See Melness Mackays). 


■viii. Jane, m. Murdo, eldest son of Robert, son of Murdo Neilson, the 
Aberach chieftain (See Aberach Mackays). 

IVa. Captain Hugh, commanded a company of Mackays raised 
in 1689 to assist General Hugh Mackay of Scoury, and was 
afterwards appointed constable of Ruthven Castle. He was retoured 
heir to his father, Captain William, 13th April, 1704, when his 
mother " Elizabeth Corbet being solemnly sworn, as said is, gave her 
great solemne oath, by the name of the Great God Almighty with 
uplifted hands and eyes to Heaven " (Reay Papers). He m., first, 
Anne, dau. of the 2nd Lord Reay, but had no issue by her. He m., 
secondly, Jane, dau. of Patrick Dunbar of Sidera. They had sasine 
to themselves in life-rent and to their eldest son in fee of the lands of 
Sidera, 18th June, 1719, and there the captain continued to reside 
until his death. His children were : — 

i. Hugh, who d. unmarried before 1719. 

ii. Patrick, of whom follows. 

Hi. John of Tordarroch, Dornoch, m. Jane, dau. of George Gray of 
Skibo by his second wife, Betty, a dau. of Sir James Dalrymple. 
He sold the lands of Tordarroch to the Earl of Sutherland, 25th 
May, 1758. They had two sons and two dans. : — 

1. George, an ensign in the Earl of Sutherland's regiment, 

obtained a company in the 60th Eoyal American 
regiment, 1778. He m. Mary, dau. of Colonel Houston 
of the Scots Brigade in Holland, who bore him Lieut. 
Robert of the 78th Highlanders, d. unmarried; and 
Hugh, d. unmarried. 

2. Hugh, entered the army of the H.E.I.C. in 1766, and d. in 


3. 4. Jane ; and Elizabeth, both d. unmarried. 

iv. Barbara, first wife of George Gray of Skibo, had sasine in virtue 
of her contract of marriage, 31st July, 1716, of the lands of 
Cuthel, Hiltoun, Achlach, and the Mains of Skibo. 

The other children were : — William, emigrated to Georgia ; 
George, a writer at Edinburgh, 1731 ; Donald, a merchant in 


London ; Robert, a merchant in Rotterdam ; Angus ; and 

Va. Captain Patrick, commanded a company of Mackays 
during the Mar rebellion of 1/15, and after disponing his rights over 
Edderachilis to Lord Reay and selling Sidera to the Earl of 
Sutherland, joined General Oglethorpe in the expedition to the new 
settlement at Georgia in 1732, accompanied by a large body of people 
from Edderachilis,. How it fared with these Mackay settlers we 
cannot say. He m. in 1/16 Helen, dau. of the Rev. lye Mackay, 
Clyne, and by her had one dau. of whom follows : — 

Jane Mackay, m. Alexander Gordon, from Fife, and had issue : — ■ 
Major Alexander Gordon, of 2nd Foot, retired in 1823 and d. 
soon after, unmarried; Major George Gordon, of the 8th West 
India regiment, d. at Aberdeen, unmarried, 1819 ; and Hugh, 
major of the 16th Foot, 1811, afterwards lieut.-general and 
governor of Jersey, d. unmarried (Annual Register for 1 823). x 

IVb. Rev. John Mackay, third son of Captain William Ilia, of 
Borley, finished his theological course at Utrecht, Holland, in 1/04, 
and in 1706 became minister of Durness. In 1714 he was translated 
to the parish of Lairg, where he laboured till his death in 1753. The 
moral and spiritual condition of Lairg at his settlement was 
lamentably low, but under his fostering care a great change came 
over the people. He was known as Am Ministear Laidir, the 
Strong Minister, a powerful athlete who often found his strength 
useful in chastising obstreperous members of his Hock, and taught 
them to respect his arm as well as his piety. In those wild times, 
when ministers had sometimes to go to the pulpit with a brace of 

1. For our account of Captain Hugh IVa. and his descendants we are very much indebted to 
the Blackcaetle MS. 


pistols in their belts, he was just the man needed. 1 He m. (contract 
29th August, 1709) Catherine, eldest dau. of John Mackay of 
Kirtomy, and had issue the four children mentioned below, besides 
others who d. young. 

i. Eev. Thomas, minister of Lairg, of whom follows. 

ii. Elizabeth, m. the Rev. Angus Sage, Locharron, and had issue : — 

1. Eev. Alexr. Sage, Kildonan, whose son, the Eev. Donald 

Sage, was the author of Memorabilia Domestica, published 
at Wick by the Messrs Eae a few years ago. . To those 
interested in our northern history it is delightful reading. 

2. Catherine Sage, m. Captain Charles Gordon of Skelpick, 

with issue. 

3. Mary Sage, m. Donald Kennedy, Applecross, and had the 

Eev. George Kennedy, Dornoch, one of whose sons, the 
Eev. Dr. Kennedy, lately U.F. minister, Callander, is 
now a professor in Canada. 

>k Hi. Janet Mackay, m. John Poison, Navidale, and had issue : — 

1. Captain William Poison of the Virginia Eangers, k. at the 

battle of Monogahela Eiver in 1755. 

2. John Poison, lieut. of the 60th Foot, afterwards major of 

the Gordon Highlanders. He was severely wounded at 
the Monogahela Eiver, and greatly distinguished himself 
at the capture of Fort St. Juan, 1780, when Captain 
Nelson, afterwards Lord Nelson, warmly thanked him. 
He d. at Exeter, Devon, 1st Jul} 7 , 1815. 

3. Hugh Poison, appointed Provost of the Vice-Admiralty 

Court, Jamaica, 7th December, 1774. 

iv. Barbara Mackay, m. Eev. George Munro, minister of Farr 1754-80, 
and had issue Mary, who d. unmarried at Dornoch. 

Vb. Rev. Thomas Mackay, appointed colleague and successor 
to his father at Lairg in 1/48, and laboured in that parish with much 
acceptance till his death in 1803. He was a great contrast to his 

1. The interested reader should consult a paper by the Rev. Dr. MacGillivray, Roseburn Free 
Church, Edinburgh, as an appendix to the Wreck of the Juno, edited by Mr. Alexr. Mackay, 20 St. 
Andrew's Square, Edinburgh. The booklet is published under the auspices of the Clan Mackay 
Society, and is well worthy of a large circle of north country readers. 


father. He was slenderly built and of a delicate constitution. He 
shrank from the world's rough ways, and enjoyed solitary, mystical 
contemplation of Divine things. If he lacked the picturesqueness of 
his father he had more than his spirituality of mind, and was well 
suited to follow up the good work in Lairg operating in new 
channels. He m. Margaret, dau. of John Montgomery of Ferndonald, 
and had issue three sons and two dans. : — 

i. John Mackay of Rockfield, of whom follows. 

ii. Hugh, who entered the army of the H.EJ.C. and became captain 
of the 4th Native Cavalry. When the Mahratha War broke out 
he took the field under General Wellesly, afterwards Duke of 
Wellington, and was temporarily appointed chief of the 
Commissariat, a post which he held on the eve of the battle of 
Assaye. At this juncture, when the small British force 
numbered only 4600, and had opposed to it 50,000, of whom 
10,000 were disciplined and led by French officers, Captain 
Mackay could not brook the idea of remaining in the rear at 
commissariat work. On the evening before the battle of Assaye, 
Wellington's first great victory, he wrote the adjutant-general 
asking permission to join his old regiment in the impending 
fight, but was told that he could not be spared from his other 
duties Captain Mackay realised that to disobey was to forfeit 
his commission at the very least, but when next day he saw his 
old regiment lining up with the 19th Dragoons to deliver what 
appeared to be a forlorn charge, he galloped to the head of his 
troop and led them straight for the enemy's guns. This wild 
charge sealed the fate of the clay, but Mackay fell in the hour 
of victory. In Colonel Welch's Beminiscences it is recorded : — 
" By a noble act of disobedience, Mackay joined his corps ; and, 
leading the charge of his own regiment in a line with the leading 
squadron of the noble veterans of the 19th Dragoons, Mackay 
rode up to the enemy's guns and fell, man and horse, at their 

very muzzles When in the heat of the pursuit 

news was brought to Wellington that Captain Hugh Mackay was 
killed, his countenance changed, and the tears which fell from 
his eyes were nature's involuntary tribute to a kindred spirit. 
Shortly afterwards, Wellington in a dispatch did ample justice 
to Mackay's character." 

This battle was fought on 23rd September, 1803, but twelve 
years later, and a few days after Waterloo, Wellington wrote 
John, Captain Mackay"s brother, offering a commission to his 


nephew as a tribute of respect to the memory of one of the 
heroes of Assaye. On the field where he fell there stands a 
monument to his memory — the only one there, we understand — 
erected by his admiring comrades-in-arms. 

Hi. William, who went to sea, wrote the Wreck of the Juno already 
referred to. This narrative greatly interested Lord Byron, and 
some of his finest passages in Don Juan descriptive of a ship- 
wreck is based upon Mackay's account. Thomas Moore, Byron's 
biographer, thus writes of Mackay's production: — "It will be 
felt, I think, by every reader, that this is one of the instances in 
which poetry must be content to yield the palm to prose. 
There is a pathos in the last sentences of the seaman's recital 
which the artifices of metre and rhyme were sure to disturb, 
and which, indeed, no verses, however beautiful, could half so 
beautifully and powerfully express." 

He became captain of the Perseverance, and afterwards of the 
Daniel. In 1801 he made a voyage uj:> the Red Sea with stores 
for General Baird's army in Egypt, during which he made a 
splendid display of seamanship, saving the Real Fidelissimo, 
which had on board a detachment of the 86th Foot. He d. at 
Calcutta, unmarried, 27th March, 1804. 

iv. Catherine Mackay, m. Captain Donald Mathieson of Shiness, 
Lairg, and had issue : — 

1. Sheriff Duncan Mathieson. 

2. Sir James Mathieson, who purchased the Lews. 

3. Captain Thomas Mathieson of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. 
Also some dans. 

VIb. John Mackay, clerk to the Hon. Commissioners for 
Indian Affairs. He had to retire from the Indian Service on a 
handsome pension owing to the loss of eyesight, and employed his 
leisure in the congenial task of writing the Life of General Hugh 
Mackay of Scoury, which was so well received that a second edition 
was almost immediately called for. He bought the estate of Little 
Tarrel, near Tain, and called it Rockfield. He m. Isabella, dau. of 
John Gordon of Carrol, but had no issue. His estate passed to his 
nephew, Sir James Mathieson of the Lews ; and his widow left his 
invested money as a Fund, called the Rockfield Bequest, for 



supplementing the salaries of the Free, now U.F., Church ministers 
of Sutherland and Strathnaver. 

IIIc, Angus, second son of Donald Mackay Ha. of Borley. He 
commanded a company at Killicrankie, where he fell. He m., first, 
Christina, dau. of Angus Mackay of Kinnisid, by whom he had: — 
Hugh, d. unmarried ; John ; and William, of whom follows. 

He m., secondly, Anna Sinclair, who bore him four sons : — 

i. Hugh, who disponed his wadset of Skinit to his brother, Donald, 

ii. Donald of Skinit, afterwards in Ribigill, m. Esther Gunn, and had 
an elder son Angus, who had a son William in Ribigill in 1769. 
Donald of Skinit is also believed to have been the father of 
Hugh of Kirkiboll. (See EXCURSUS below.) 

Hi., iv. George ; and John. 

IVc. Lieut. William, third son of Angus Mackay by his first 
wife. In The House and Clan of Mackay he is said to have been m. 
twice, and to have had two sons : — John, of whom follows ; and 

Excursus. — Hugh, as "tacksman of Kirkiboll" witnessed a sasine of 
Rietongue, 26th April, 1740. He is believed to be the father of : — ■ 

"William MacHuistean, known as Fear an Lettirmore, headman of 
Lettermore, who had a son, Hugh Mackay, alias Mac William 
MacHuistean, according to the Durness register. The latter Hugh m. 
Mary Clarke, and had issue : — 

Hugh Mackay, J.P., tacksman of Kinlochbervie, who m. Margaret 
Annan Scot, and d. 5th August, 1869, at Kinlochbervie. For his issue, 
etc., see our brochure, The Family of Mackay of Sandwood and 
Kinlochbervie, issued by Phillimore & Co., 124 Chancery Lane, London. 


George, an exciseman in Greenock, about 1818, who afterwards lived 
at Stewart-Hall, Bute, but had no issue. 

Vc. John Mackay, a surgeon at Armadale, Farr, witnessed a 
document among the Reay Papers, dated 13th June, 1/69. He 
afterwards settled at Falsaid, Tongue, and m. Margaret, dau. of John 
Poison of Rogart, with issue one son and two dans. : — 

i. William, of whom follows. 

ii. Bessie Mackay, m. Hugh Mackay of Dalangclale, Strathy, but no 

Hi. Jane Mackay, m. Robert Macl<ay, an Aberach, and had issue an 
only dau., Euphemia Mackay, who m. Peter Smith, a Glasgow 
merchant, and had issue : — Robert Mackay Smith, a great 
patron of science (See a paper by Prof. Swan in the Proceedings 
of the Royal Soc, Edinburgh, 15th May, 1889); George Mackay 
Smith ; Jane Mackay Smith ; Euphemia Smith ; Peter Smith ; 
Isabella (Mrs. Suverkrop), d. 1903 ; and Elizabeth. 

Vic. William, m. 4th March, 1784, Jane, dau. of Kenneth 
Scobie, Achimore, by his wife, a dau. of the tutor of Farr. He 
emigrated to Prince Edward's Island in 1806, and d. there in 1826. 
Some time after his arrival in Prince Edward's Island, and while 
Britain was at war with France, he raised a company of Colonial 
Highlanders of which he became captain. He had issue ten sons and 
two daus., but the only child who survived to have issue was John, 
of whom follows. 

VIIc. John Mackay, was born in Scotland, 13th February, 
1800, m. in Prince Edward's Island Sibla, dau. of Lieut. John 
Mackenzie. He emigrated in 1838 to New South Wales, and d. at 
Newcastle there, 11th November, 1851, leaving issue four sons and 
four daus. : — 

i. George, of whom follows. 

ii. John Kenneth, grazier, Dungog, N.S. Wales, b. 1828, m. Isabella 


Hooke, issue two sons : — John Kenneth ; and William H., 
grazier, Anambah, West Maitland, N.S. Wales, m. his cousin 
Adelaide, dau. of Augustus Hooke by Louisa Barbara Mackay, 
with issue (William ; John ; Emily ; and Violet). 

Hi. Duncan Forbes Mackay, who d. at Dulcalmah, N.S.W., 1887, m. 
Lenora Hooke, issue seven children: — Duncan; Louis; Ada 
'Mrs. George Peele) ; Mary Anne ; Agnes ; Alma ; and Ethel. 

w, Charles Boyce Mackay, b. 5th January, 1 837, a stockman, Dungog, 
m. Alice Cutler, and has two sons and five daus. : — Charles ; 
Kenneth ; Anne ; Amelia ; Alice Margaret ; Louisa ; and Eva 

v. Jane Mackay, m. Vincent T. W. Dowling, Cannigalla., N.S. Wales, 
and had issue : — Vincent ; James ; John ; Alfred ; Maria ; Eliza ; 
Emily ; and Sybla. 

vi. Jessie Johanna Mackay, m. George James Cobb, Anambah, and 
had issue : — John ; George, m. a Miss Campbell ; Charles, m. a 
Miss Campbell ; Kenneth ; Emily ; and Sarah. 

vii. Amelia Caroline Mackay, m. Edward Sparke, Hcxam, N.S. Wales, 
of the firm of '-Sparke & Clift." She d. in 1888, leaving 
issue : — William ; John ; Emma ; Ellen ; Mary ; Alma ; and 

viii. Louisa Barbara Mackay, m. Augustus Hooke, and has issue : — 
Augustus ; Adelaide, m. Wm. H. Mackay, her cousin ; Sybella ; 
and Louisa. 

VIIIc. George Mackay, grazier, Dungog, born in 1821, and d. 
about 1900. He m. Jane Scott Macdonald-Cooper, widow of Dr. 
John Cooper, and left issue one son and three daus. : — 

i. George Alexander, of whom follows. 

ii. Sybla J. Mackay, m. Frederick A. Hooke, Dingadee, N.S. Wales, 
18th November, 1874, and has issue: — John; George; 
Frederick; Alexander; Benjamin; Harold; James; Mary; and 

Hi., iv. Mary ; and Anne. 


IXc. George Alexander Mackay, grazier, Melbec, Dungog, 
one of the leading men in that part of N.S. Wales, and foremost in 
works that tend to the religious and social welfare of his countrymen. 
Long may the Scoury Mackays of N.S. Wales maintain the credit of 
the old house by a worthy bearing, such as has hitherto characterised 


III. ^I)c "ggigljottse "gtfacfcags. 

Shield of Mackay ofBighouse, c. 1680. 
(Eraser's Funeral Escutcheons.) 

I. ^YILLIA^I Mackay, son of lye Da XII. of Strathnaver by his 
wife, Christina Sinclair, was the first of this family. During the 
troubled minority and early reign of King James VI., when the 
northern people did very much as they pleased, William was often 
on the war-path. As we show in our memoir of his brother, 
Huistean Du of Strathnaver, he led the Mackays on La Tom Fraoich, 
fighting the Sutherlands from morning till nightfall, and next morning 
at day-break, being joined by the Gunns, practically exterminated a 
strong force of Sinclairs that was advancing in coucert with the 




Sutherlands. Sir Robert Gordon refers to various other encounters 
in which William bore a part. The Hurrays who got possession of 
the lands of Strathhalladale in 1430 — lands which the Mackays held 
at that time by charter from the Lord of the Isles — he harried so 


Jteg IJfe&igree. 



William Maekav, 

lye Du XII., d. 

(See p. 97.) 





Angus, d. 1631. 



lye of Golval, 

with issue. 

(Line b.) 

And others. 


William, gave 
charter, 1649. 



Donald, d.s.p. 

Angus, had charter, 

William of Rennivie. 

with issue. 

(Line a.) 


Joseph, d. s.p. 

George, d. 1722. 

And others. 


Hugh, d. young. 


Elizabeth, m. Hon. 

Hugh Mackay. 


Janet, m. W. Mackay 
of Melness. 


1 1 
Hugh, Colin, 
d. s.p. d. s.p. 


Janet, m. C. Campbell. 


And othei's. 




Louisa Campbell, m. 
G. Maekay of Handa. 

(See Sandavood Mackays.) 


mercilessly that they had to abandon the strath altogether. On the 
14th September, 1592, Rory Murray of Bighouse complained to the 
Privy Council : — 

That upon the 20th September, 1587, William Mackay "with 
certan brokin hieland men, to the noumer of personis or 


fchairby," came to the lands of Bighouse or Strathhalladale and 

" ejected the said complenaris wyffe and bairnis furth of the 
said houssis, Quhairthrou thay being strangearis in that cuntrey 
at last miserablie deit throu hunger in the mountane." 
Further, the said William Mackay " hes continuallie sensyne 
withhaldin and possest the said complenaris hous and rowme, 
and hes banist himself the cuntry swa that he dar nocht repair 
thairunto for feir of his lyffe" (P.C Reg.). 

Eventually 1 Murray alienated these lands to William Mackay for 
1000 nierks on 18th July, 1597, and on the 18th December, 1598, 
the latter secured the estate by a charter of confirmation under the 
Great Seal. William, who d. in 1612, m. Isabella, dau. of Rorie 
Mackenzie 2 of Ardfalie, afterwards of Redcastle, by a dau. of Munro 
of Fowlis (Bighouse Inventory ). Their known issue was three sons 
and two daus. : — 

i. Angus, who succeeded, and of whom follows. 

ii. Iye of Golval, of whom afterwards as lib. 

The other children are said to have been : — Donald ; Ann, m. 
Adam Gordon of Kilcalumkill ; and Marian. 

II. Angus, duly succeeded his father in the lands of Strath- 
halladale, and on the 2nd May, 1631, obtained from the 1st Lord 
Reay the churchlands of Balnaheglis and Goval with the salmon 
fishings of Halladale water, in perpetual fee for the annual payment 
of 17/4 (Bighouse Inventory). He in., first, Jane Elphingstone 
(niece of Lord Elphingstone), who d. in 1630, and was buried in 
Kirkton Chapel, Strathhalladale, leaving issue. He m., secondly, 

1. In the Bighouse Inventory the following item appears :—" Decreet of Reduction at the 
instance of Alexr. Murray, brother and heir of the umql. Alexander Murray of Spenziedale, agt. 
Donald MeAngus McAlister of Glengarry, nearest and lawful heir of Donald Isles of Lochalsh, 
knight, Goodames brother — reducing a service and infeftment upon the lands of Bighouse, Forse, 
Trantills. etc., in prejudice of the said Alexr. Murray, the decreet dated 20th Jan., 1579." 

It may be that the service and infeftment referred to above were obtained by Glengarry in 
virtue of the rights held over these lands by the Lord of the Isles, whose representative Glengarry 
claimed to be. When in due process this infeftment failed, the Mackays seem to have taken the 
law into their own hands and to have driven the Murray's out. 

2. Rorie Mackenzie was a son of Kenneth, 11th of Kintail, by a dau. of the Earl of Athole 
(Macfarlane's Collections). 


Jane, dan. of Sir Alexr. Gordon of Navidale. He d. of witchcraft in 
1634, as Sir Robert Gordon gravely informs us. His known issue 
was : — William, of whom follows ; Angus, who had a bond from his 
brother William on 12th May, 1643 (Caithness Sheriff Records). 

III. William, was appointed one of the Committee of War for 
the shire of Sutherland by the Scots Parliament in 1648. Towards 
the close of that year he accompanied John, afterwards 2nd Lord 
Rcay, on the expedition which ended so disastrously at Balveny, and 
not long thereafter resigned his estate to his eldest son. He m. Jane, 
dau. of John Mackay of Strathy, and had known issue four sons and 
one dau. : — 

i. Donald, had a charter of the family lands from his father, 14th 
September, 1649, "to be halden of the said William, and 
redeemable for payment of ten merks within the church of 
Eeay " (Bighouse Inventory). He d. without issue. 

ii. Angus, who succeeded his brother, and of whom follows. 

Hi. John, witnessed a sasine of Strathhalladale, 20th December, 1667. 

iv. William of Rennivie, of whom afterwards as IVa. 

v. Mary, m. John Grimn of Braemore, and had sasine of Braemore, 
29th August, 1687, in virtue of her marriage contract. 

IV. Angus, was served heir to his brother Donald, 21st July 
1681, (Chancery Record), and had a charter of the estate under the 
Great Seal, 1st July, 1687, in favour of himself and his spouse Jane 
Sinclair in life-rent, and of Joseph Mackay their eldest lawful sou in 
fee, whom failing to George their second son (Reg. Blag. Sig.). He 
ra. Jane, dau. of Patrick Sinclair of Ulbster ; and they are both buried 
in the Bighouse Aisle, Reay, where a slab in the wall shows the arms 
of husband and wife. The issue of this marriage was : — 

i. Joseph, m. Helen, dau. of General Sir George Munro of Culrain, 
2Uth July, 1692, and d. without issue hi 1698 (Bighouse 



ii. George, who succeeded his elder brother, and of whom follows. 

Hi. Rachel, m. John Munro of Eriboll, and had sasine in life-rent of the 
lands of Eriboll, 2nd February, 1G88. 

iv. Elizabeth, m. George Mackay of Kinloeh, and had sasine in life- 
rent of Kinloeh, 11th June, 1712. 

v. Ann, m. Alexander Fraser of Erogie, and had sasine in life-rent of 
Erogie in Dores, Inverness-shire, 6th June, 1700. 

V. George, served heir to his brother Joseph, 19th January, 
1699, had sasine of the estate on 14th May, 1/06, and m. Catherine, 
dau. of William Ross of Kindace in 1704. He d. in 1722, issue one 
son and two daus. : — 

i. Hugh, d. young. 

ii. Elizabeth, of whom follows. 

Hi. Janet, m. William Mackay of Melness, and had issue f See Melness 
Mack ays). 

VI. Elizabeth, m. in 1728 Lieut.-Col. the Hon. Hugh Mackay, 
son of the 3rd Lord Reay, and d. 31st March, 1769, having borne 
five children. Her husband had sasine of Strathhalladale on 5th 
October, 1744, having bought up the encumbrances upon the estate. 
He m., secondly, Isabella, dau. of Alexander Mackenzie of Lentran, 
14th April, 1770, and d. at Bath without issue by his second marriage 
on 12th November of that year. The issue of the first marriage 
was : — 

i. Ensign Hugh Mackay, d. unmarried in early life. 

ii. Colin, d. in infancy. 

Hi, Janet, m. Colin Campbell of Glenure, who was murdered by one of 
the Stewarts of Ardshiel in 1752. Her issue was three daus. : 

1. Elizabeth Campbell, d. young. 

2. Louisa Campbell, inherited \ of the estate of Bighouse, 


and m. George Mackay of Handa, who purchased the 
remainder of the estate, and was afterwards known as of 
Bighouse. She had issue (See Sandwood Mackays). 

3. Colina Campbell, m. James Bailie, merchant in Bristol and 
Granada, and M.P. for Horsham. 

iv. Mary, m. William Bailie of Kosehall, and d. his widow at 
Peterhead in 1808. They had issue seven sons and two 
daus. : —Mackay Hugh Bailie, Colonel of the Reay Fencibles, 
and afterwards Major-General ; George ; John ; Simon ; Charles ; 
Lamington ; Evan, afterwards Sir Evan, a Major-General of the 
Bengal Army ; Elizabeth, m. Roderick Mackenzie of Fairburn ; 
and Catherine, m. Captain James Sutherland of Oldany. 

v. Marion, m. the 5th Lord Reay as his first wife, and d. without 

vi. Robina, d. unmarried at Harrogate, 10th August, 1762. 

IVa. William Mackay of Rennivie, Farr, son of William 3rd of 
Bighouse, granted sasine of Rennivie to his elder brother Angus in 
security for 1000 merks, 3rd March, 1681. He was alive in 1694. 
He m. , and had known issue two sons : — 

Angus, of whom follows; and Donald, who witnessed a sasine of 
Rennivie, 30th May, 1709. 

Va. Angus, " as eldest lawful son and apparent heir of the 
deceased William Mckay," had sasine on a tack of Rennivie iu 
security for a loan of 3000 merks to Lord Strathnaver, 13th March, 
1700. He m. (contract 1st June. 1704) Ann, dan. of Hector Mackay 
of Skerray (See Strathy Mackays). His widow, in virtue of her 
marriage contract, had sasine of Rennivie on 30th May, 1709. Their 
known issue was two sons and a dau. : — 


i. "William, served heir male to his deceased cousin, George 5th of 
Bighouse (Chancery Record, 5th August, 1728), disponed his 
rights over said estate, his brother Angus consenting, to John 
Mackay of Clashneach on 16th March, 1728, who in turn 
conveyed these rights to the Hon. Hugh Mackay, husband of 
Elizabeth of Bighouse. 

ii. Angus, mentioned above. His tombstone in Farr church yard 
bears the inscription, " Here lyes the body of Angus Mackay of 
Kennivie, who dyed the 4 day of Jannivary, 1737." The arms 
of Mackay are beautifully carved on the stone. 

"Angus Mackay of Kennivie, wadsetter," appeared as a 
commissioner at a meeting of the Tongue Presbytery, 24th 
March, 1756. He was probably a son of the above Angus, 
but further we cannot trace this family in the male line. 

Hi. Marion, m. James Mackay, tacksman of Skerray, and had issue 
three sons and four daus. : — 

1. Angus, a merchant in London. 

2. Major-General Alexander, Adjutant-General of the Forces 

in Scotland, d. at Edinburgh in 1809 without issue. 

3. George, d. unmarried. 

4. Elizabeth (See EXCURSUS below). 

5. Ann, second wife of William Mackay of Melness, no issue. 

6. Janet, m. Donald Mackay of Borgie, and had issue (See 

Stkathy Mackays). 

7. Bessie, m. Major Donald Mackay of Eiiboll, and had issue 

(See Aberach Mackays). 

Excursus. — Elizabeth, m. Hector Mackay, Clashadie, Tongue, and 
had issue as follows : — 

Alexander, an officer of the H.E.I.C , died s.p. ; John, of the H.E.I. C, 
died s.p. ; and Donald, of whom follows : — 

Donald in Lamigo, Tongue, m. Isabella Mackay, and had the following 
issue :— Hector, d. in Melbourne, 1857, leaving issue; and Hugh, of 
whom follows : — 

Hugh Mackay, merchant in Lamigo, m. Catherine Boss, and d. about 
1877 leaving issue:- John, d. in Edinburgh leaving one son; Christina 
(Mrs. John Mackay), in Edinburgh ; Alcxandrina (Mrs. William Mackay), 
Skerray; and Isabella (Mrs. Donald Mackay), Lamigo. All the daus. are 
living and have issue. 


lib. Ite Mackay of Golval, son of William 1st of Bighouse, had 
sasine of Golval and Strath, 6th March, 1633, m. Margaret, dau. of 
John Gordon of Sidera, and had issue : — William, of whom follows ; 
Angus, m. Mary, dau. of Walter Innes, Skail, Reay, 20th August, 
16/0 ; Christina, m. Donald, son of Neil Williamson Aberach ; and 
Isabella, m. Donald Forbes, Auchentof't. 

Illb. Rev. William, minister of Rogart, was served heir to his 
father lye on the 29th July, 1663 (Chancery Record), and m. 
Margaret, dau. of David Sutherland of Morvich, who bore him as 
follows : — 

i. Rev lye, minister of Clyne, m. Catherine, dau. of Patrick Dunbar 
of Sidera, and had a son Patrick Mackay served heir to his 
father in 1730. 

ii. William of Forsinain. His tombstone in the church-yard of Reay 
bears the inscription, " Here lyes the body of ane honest 
gentleman, Wm. Mackay, Forsinain, who departed this life 
1720;" and as the shields of Mackay and Sinclair are carved on 
the stone, we conclude that he was m. to a Sinclair. 

Hi. Jane, m., first, Alexr. Sutherland of Morvich, and had sasine of 
the lands of Morvich in life-rent, 27th February, 1686. She m., 
secondly, Alexr. Sutherland of Breygrudie, and had sasine of 
Breygrudie in life-rent, 18th May, 1693. By her first husband 
she had a dau. Jane Sutherland, who m. the poet John Mackay 
of Strathan-Melness, 3rd June, 1712, the last of the clan Erchar 
Mackays whom we have been able to trace. 

The other children of the Rev. William were : -David of Pitfure; 
Angus ; and Mary (Sas. Beg.). 

^S3$f^ ; 


IV. ^fjc gifraftJB ^Tctciutgs. 

Bookplate of John, 5th of Strathy. 

I. John Mackay, son of Huistean Du XIII. of Strathnaver by 
Ms wife, Lady Jane Gordon, was the first of this branch. He had a 
disposition from his brother, the 1st Lord Reay, of the lands of 
Braegall in Caithness, viz., Dilred, Cattack, Dalniore, Knockdhu, 
Daluachrach, Dalreith, etc., 23rd September, 1626, which was duly 




confirmed by charter afterwards (Blk. MS.). The said Lord Reay 
also granted to the said John Mackay of Dilred in life-rent, and to 
Hugh Mackay his eldest son in fee and heritage, the lands of Strathy, 
Armadale, Portskerray, and Glen of Kinloch-Strathy with fishings of 
the river, 2nd May, 1631. He m. in 1618 Agnes, dau. of Sir James 
Sinclair of Murkle, and d. in 1645 leaving the folloAving five 
children : — Hugh, of whom follows ; John of Skerray, of whom 


jficg "^cbiQxee. 

*. ■*- A. v\ -v % -v. -v-v-v "V, \ 

I. John, son of Huistean Dn 
XIII. (See p. 97). 

II. Hugh of Strathy, 
d. 16S9 c. 

III. John, had 
sas. 1702. 

IV. Hugh, gave 
sas. 1716. 

V. John, disponed 
Strathy, 1770. 


John of Skerray. 
(Line a.) 


Hector, had 
sas. 1679. 


Hugh of 
(Line b.) 
Robert, d. 
John d. 
Francis, d. 
John, b. 1818, 
left issue. 

James of Kirtomy 

(Line c). 



John, had sas. 


John of Borgie, 
d. 1750. 
Donald of Borgie. 

Captam John, 
d. 1S0S. 

afterwards as Ha. ; James of Kirtomy, of whom afterwards as lie. ; 
Elizabeth, m. (contract 20th February, 1640) Patrick Sinclair, eldest 
son of John Sinclair of Brims, and had issue (See Henderson's 
Caithness Families) ; and Jane, m. William Mackay III. of Bighouse 
(See Bighouse Mackays). 

II. Hugh Mackay, succeeded, in 1645 on his father's death, and 
m. the Hon. Jane Mackay, dau. of the 2nd Lord Reay and widow of 
the Hon. Robert Gordon of Langdale, to whom he gave sasine in 


life-rent of the lands of Strathy, 3rd March, 1676. He disponed the 
lands of Braegall to John Sinclair of Ulbster, 8th May, 1681, and d. 
between 1688 and 1690 leaving two known children: — John, of 
whom follows; and Ann, "eldest dan." m. John Mackay, Portskerray, 
to whom she bore an elder son Donald. 

III. John Mackay, m. Elizabeth, dau. of John Sinclair of 
Brims, Caithness, issue the following four sons all mentioned in a 
heritable bond by the 2nd Lord Reay, on which he had sasine reg. 1st 
July, 1702 :— 

i. Hugh, of whom follows. 

ii. George, m. (contract 20th September, 1710) Barbara, dau. of 
William Sinclair of Thrumster, with issue Hugh of Dalangdale 
who d. without issue. 

Hi. John, became major of Benticks' Foot, 24th December, 1755 
(Scots Mag.). 

iv. William, witnessed a sasine of Strathy reg. 30th August, 1717. 
In the House of Mackay he is said to have m. a dau. of John 
Mackay of Kirtomy, who bore him a son Hugh, who had a son 
John — the latter a solicitor in Inverness, 1829. 

IV. Hugh Mackay, m., first, Barbara, dau. of Patrick Murray 
of Scotscalder, Halkirk, to whom he gave sasine in life-rent of the 
lauds of Armadale, 11th August, 1716, issue five sons: — 

John, who succeeded and of whom follows : George ; Patrick ; 
James ; and Hugh. The four latter sons are all mentioned in a 
bond of Provision by their father, 23rd October, 1721 (Caithness 
Sheriff Records). 

He m., secondly, Jane, dau. of William Budge, Toftingall, 
Watten, to whom he gave sasine in life-rent of Strathy lauds, 8th 
February, 1726. He d. before 1729. 

V. John Mackay, in. Janet (who d. at Strathy, 19th May, 
1775), dau. of William Sinclair of Scotscalder, issue four children. 




In 1/79 he disponed the estate of Strathy to his grandson William 
Honeyman, and d. at Geise, near Thurso, 29th September, 1783 
( Blk. MS.). His children were :— 

i. Hugh, had sasine of Armadale, 28th September, 1752, and d. soon 
after (Blk. MS.). 

ii. Captain John, of the Earl of Sutherland's Highlanders, 1760, d. at 
Strathy, 6th September, 1772 (Scots Mag.). 

Hi. Margaret, m. Patrick Honeyman of Graemsay, Orkney, issue : — - 
Janet ; Barbara ; and William. William Honeyman, appointed 
one of the senators of the College of Justice, 5th January, 1797, 
was created a baronet 12th May, 1S04 (Blk. MS.). Sir William 
Honeyman sold the estate of Strathy to the Marquis of Stafford, 
23rd February, 1813, for £25,000. 

iv. Barbara, m. Major John Scobie of the Reay Fencibles (son of the 
Rev. Wm. Scobie, Assynt), tacksman of Melness, and d. at 
Keoldale, 1818, issue four children : — 

1. Captain Mackay John Scobie of the H.E.I.C., m. Bessie, 

dau. of Major Donald Mackay of Eriboll, with issue (See 


2. Captain Kenneth Scobie of the Royal Marines. 

3. Janet Scobie, m. Lieut. John Mackenzie, Badnahay, with 

issue : — Lieut. Robert Mackenzie, Borgie ; and Louisa 
(See Excursus below). 

Excursus. — Louisa Mackenzie, m. in 1816 George Mackay, merchant, 
Scoury, and that year emigrated to Cape Breton, and thence to Upper 
Canada, where she d. in 1859, leaving living issue four daus. : — Johanna, 
of whom follows ; Janet, m. Sheriff Ross, Woodstock, Ontario ; Christina, 
m. Alexr. Mackay, Woodstock; and Anne (Mrs. Peter Cleland). 

Johanna Mackay, m. in 1836 Roderick, son of John Macdonald of 
Scorraig, Ross, issue : - Louisa, of whom follows ; Georgina, m. Dr. 
Fergus Black with issue (Roderick ; Davidson ; Norman ; Fergus ; and 
Mary Johanna). 

Louisa Macdonald, m. in 1862 Dr. David Mark Dibble, Canada, with 
surviving issue as follows : — 

Mary Louisa Dibble, m. W. Wilfred Campbell, a well-known Canadian 
poet, with issue : — Marjory ; Faith ; Basil ; and Dorothy. 



4. Jane Scobie, m. Captain Angus Mackay, Rogart, issue : — 
John S. Mackay, d. in Jamaica ; and Barbara, m. Robert 
Leith, Culgower. 

Ha. John Mackay of Skerray, son of Hugh Mackay I. of 
Strathy, was captured at Balveny in 1649, appointed a commissioner 
of supply for the shire of Sutherland in 1685 and again in 1690 
(Records of Pari.). He obtained in wadset the town and lands of 
Skerray-Horisdale, port and strath thereof, 28th November, 1659, 
and m. Margaret, dau. of Hector Munro of Eriboll. He was alive in 
1/09, and had four known children : — 

i. John, d. without issue before 1679. 

ii. Hector, of whom follows. 

Hi. Donald, a notary public in Skerray, Strathan-Tongue, and 
afterwards in Eibigill, had a wadset of Kinnisid in 1702, and m. 
Margaret Munro, with known issue two sons : - Hugh, elder son, 
who inherited the wadset of Kinnisid (Reay Pajiers); and John, 
merchant in Inverness, m. 5th December, 1717, Jean, dau. of 
John Barbour of Aldowry, issue nine children — one of whom 
was Donald Mackay, b. 1730, tacksman of Dorrery, Halkirk, m. 
Barbara Macpherson with issue :— Robert in Brawlbin, of whom 
follows; Donald, b. 1765, d. in America; Roderick, in Watten, 
b. 1770, m. Margaret Mackay with issue (Donald; Robert, 
whose only dau. Margaret is now m. to the Rev. Donald Brims, 
U.F., Keiss ; David ; Barbara ; and Elspat) : — 

Robert Mackay in Brawlbin, b. 1764, and d. 1810, m. first, 
Elspat Macdonald, issue three daus., viz., Katherine, m. 
Alexr. Brims, solicitor, Thurso ; Barbara (Mrs. Alexr. 
Jack, Thurso) ; and Elspat. He m., secondly, Isabel 
Grunn, with issue : — Anne, d. unmarried ; John, d. 
• young ; Donald, m. Christina Falconer (whose children 
Robert ; William ; David ; John ; Isabella ; Christina ; 


Katherine ; and Barbara all emigrated to New Zealand) , 
Robert, d. unmarried ; and David, of whom follows. 

David Mackay, merchant, Thurso, who d. in 1876, m. 
Christiana Brims, and left issue : — Alexander, solicitor 
and banker, Thurso ; Robert, d. without issue ; David, in 
San Francisco ; Katherine (Mrs. Donald Swanson, South 
Africa) ; Isabel ; Christina ; Anne ; and Jane. 

iv. Hugh of Cairnloch, of whom afterwards as Illb. 

Ilia. Hector Mackay, had sasine of Skerray, 7th March, 16/9, 
on a Precept of dare constat as heir to his deceased brother John. 
He m. Barbara, dau. of Captain William Mackay of Borley, who had 
sasine in life-rent of Skerray, 22nd February, 1686, issue six 
children : — 

i. Donald, of whom follows. 

ii. John of Clashneach, factor for the 3rd Lord Reay, and a large 
dealer. He m. Catherine, dau of William Mackay of Strathan- 
Melness (See Aberach Mackays), and had known issue four 
children : — 

1. Colonel Hugh, planter in Jamaica, afterwards tacksman of 

Balnakiel, m., first, Francis de la Rue, issue : — Isabella, 
m. Hugh, son of Robert Mackay, tutor of Farr. Colonel 
Hugh m., secondly, Janet Sutherland, issue a large 
family, but the only one who left issue was Caroline, 
who m. Captain John Mackay Vic. of Borgie, and 
afterwards of Skerray. 

2. John, witnessed a sasine of Rennivie, 30th August, 1757. 

3. Isobel, m. John, son of Kenneth Sutherland of Keoklale, 

issue :— Harriot. 

4. Mary, m. Donald Mackay, Clashneach, with issue. 

Hi., iv. Angus, " third lawful son," tacksman of Kinloch ; and George. 

The daus. were : — Barbara, m. John Munro, Skinit; and Ann, m. 
Angus Mackay of Rennivie (See BlGHOUSE MACKAYS). 

IVa. Donald Mackay, resigned the wadset of Skerray, to Lord 
Reay, 17th May, 1723. He m. , and had known issue: — 


Hector, "eldest lawful son;" and a dau., who m. John Mackay of 
Moudale (See Aberach Mackats). 

Illb. Hugh Mackay of Cairnloch, as "Hugh Mackay lawful 
son of John Mackay of Skerray," witnessed a deed by Hector his 
brother, 22nd February, 1686. He is said to have m., first, Christina, 
dau. of Eobert Aberach Mackay, and secondly, Margaret, dau. of 
Patrick Sinclair of Ulbster. He removed to Caithness, and had 
issue 1 as follows : — 

i. John, m. Mrs. Janet Ross, and had an only dau. : — Elizabeth, m. 
Captain John Sutherland of the Caithness Horse, and d. at 
Dunbeathin 182"2. 

ii. James, d. unmarried at Dun, Watten, 1754. 

Hi. Robert, of whom follows. 

iv. Francis, in Bruan, m. Catherine, dau. of James Calder of Lynegar, 
Watten, with issue :— Francis, m. May, dau. of the Rev. David 
Dunbar, Olrig, no issue ; Robert, whose son Robert was m. in 
Bristol, 1806 ; and Anne, m. William Heron, merchant, Glasgow. 

IVb. Robert Mackay, Clyth, m. in 1718 Janet, dau. of George 
Edwards, Persie, Forfar, and d. at Clyth in 1754, leaving two 
children : — John, of whom follows ; and Janet, m. David Geddes, 
Occumster, no issue. 

Vb. John Mackay, m. in 1758 Janet, dau. of John Donaldson, 
tacksman of Ulbster, and d. in 1793 (when his widow and family 
removed to Edinburgh) leaving issue : — 

*". Robert, d. unmarried, 1792. 

1. The Blk. MS. is our authority for the descent from Hugh clown to c. 1S40. 


ii, John, in Edinburgh, m. Jane Dunlop, and d. in 1840 leaving 
issue: -Dr. John, d. unmarried, 1854; Lieut. Walter of the 
H.E.I.C, d. 1827 ; Robert, d. 1884 ; James, m. Elizabeth Lewis, 
but d. without issue ; Janet, m. Thomas Plews, chemist, York, 
and d. in 1838 leaving four sons; Agnes, m. Francis Stainsford, 
merchant, Newcastle, with issue ; and Jane, m. William 
Forester, a medical officer of the H.E.I.C, Madras. 

Hi. Francis, of whom follows. 

iv. James, d. unmarried in 1837. 

v. Alexander of Blackcastle, F.S.A.S., purchased Blackcastle, near 
Edinburgh, 1823, m. in 1799 Isabella, dau. of William Curor, 
Ettrickbank, and by her had an only son, of whom follows : — 

John Alexander Mackay, m. in 1833 Penelope, dau. of John 
Macmillan Macneil of Carskey, Argyle, and left issue : — 
Colonel Forbes Mackay of Carskey, m. in 1865 Margaret 
Isabella, dau. of Prof. Cosmo Innes, with issue (Ian ; 
Cosmo ; Malcolm ; Hugh Rose ; Ian ; Alister ; and 
Frank) ; Jane Martha, m. Douglas John, son of the Rev. 
Douglas Macdonald, Sanda, with issue ; Penelope Ann, 
m. Eev. Colin Campbell, D.D., Dundee, no issue. 

vi. Ann, m. in 1785 Alexander Sutherland, merchant, Edinburgh, and 
had issue a son John. 

vii. Janet, m. in 1794 James Macgregor of Fonab, Perthshire, head of 
the family of Roro, no issue. 

VIb. Francis Mackay, b. 1776, m. first, Miss Peddie, no 
surviving issue. He m., secondly, Margaret, dau. of William 
Thomson, Peebles, and d. in 1842 leaving issue : — Francis, d. young ; 
John, of whom follows ; James, wholesale chemist, d. at Edinburgh 
unmarried, 1890; Robert, in the civil employment of the H.E.I.C, d. 
unmarried, 184G ; Elizabeth ; and Jane. The last two d. unmarried. 

Vllb. John Mackay, b. 1818, manufacturing chemist in 
Edinburgh, m. Agnes, dau. of John Christie of Burnhouse, Portobello, 
with following issue : — 

i. John Christie, C.E., Melbourne, m. in 1882 Sarah T. Barrow, with 


ii. William Bailey, wholesale chemist, Edinburgh, m. in 1884- Ellen, 
dau. of James Lindsay, W.S., Leith, and has one dau. 

in. George Duncan, wholesale chemist, Edinburgh, m. in 1880 
Hannah, dau. of the late Humphries N. Goulding of Hyde Park 
House, Cork, and has issue. One of his sons is Lieut. 
Humphries G. Mackay of the Cameron Highlanders. 

iv. James Francis, W.S., Edinburgh, m. in 1886 Annie, dau. of the 
late David Croal of Southfield, Midlothian, with issue. 

v. Margaret, m. Rev. Peter Thomson, D.D., Dunning, with issue. 

vi. Agnes Steele, m. in 1883 David Pringle of the Edinburgh Eoperie 
and Sailcloth Co., Leith, with issue. 

Also Francis, who d. young; and Mary, who d. unmarried at 
Edinburgh, 1896. 

lie. James Mackay of Kirtomy, son of John Mackay I. of 
Strathy, had sasine on a contract of wadset, 6th July, 1670, of the 
four pennylands of Kirtomy and the two pennylands of Swordlie. 
He m. Mary, dau. of the Hon. Sir James Fraser of Brae, son of 
Simon, Lord Lovat, and had known issue three children : — 

i. John, of whom follows. 

ii. James of Borgiemore, had a wadset of Borgiemore of which he 
took sasine, 15th September', 1705. He m. Elizabeth, dau. of 
Rev. D. Munro, Beay, and had issue : — Margaret, heiress of 
Borgie, who m. her cousin, Ensign James Mackay, younger of 
Kirtomy, as will appear. 

Hi. Madeline, m. John Fearn, Balchladich. 

IIIc. John Mackay, had a Precept of dare constat as heir to his 
deceased father in the wadset of Kirtomy, 22nd November, 1692, and 


in 1/04 obtained Fair also in wadset. He m. Elizabeth, dau. of 
John Sinclair of Lybster, and d. at Badinloch in December, 1732, 
leaving issue : — 

i. James, Ensign of Cunningham's regiment, m. his cousin, Margaret 
Mackay of Borgie, 8th December, 1724, and d. without issue 
soon after. 

ii. John, of whom follows. 

Hi. George, a writer in Thurso, had a son William, whose son Robert 
rose to the rank of lieut. -general in the H.E.I.C. The said 
general retired from the army in 1823, and died at Honfleur, 
France, 10th September, 1833, leaving a widow and family 
(Ben Reay Notes), 

iv. Catherine, m. Rev. John Mackay, Lairg (See Scoury Mackays). 

v. Mary, first wife of Alexander Gunn of Badinloch and Wester 
Helmsdale, chieftain of Gunn. They had a dau. Mary, who m. 
Major Hugh Mackay of Rearchar, Dornoch (See Sandwood 

id. Elizabeth, m. Rev. Alexander Sutherland, Halkirk, and had issue. 

vii. Jane, m. at Badinloch, 18th March, 1731, Rev. William Scobie, 

Assynt, issue : — Kenneth Scobie, Achimore ; Rev. William 

Scobie, Wick ; and Major John Scobie, Melness, of the Reay 

: viii. Janet, m. Robert Mackay, tutor of Farr, with issue (See 
Sandwood Mackays), 

IVc. John Mackay of Borgie, served heir to bis cousin [and 
sister-in-law] in the wadset of Borgie, 10th February, 1739 (Chancery 
Record). He m. first, a dau. of Provost Fraser, Inverness, and, 
secondly, Jane, dau. of Donald Mackay of Farr (See Sandwood 
Mackays). To his second wife be gave sasine in life-rent " of one 
half of the town and lands of Borgieniore, shoaling and arable lands 
of Polruskane, with power to her to take possession of and dwell in 
the bouse of Borgie at the first term of Whitsunday after his death." 


He d. in 1750 leaving two sons: — Donald, of whom follows; and 
Captain James of the Earl of Sutherland's regiment of 1760, who 
resided in Thurso, but afterwards went to London, where he m. 
leaving issue. 

Vc. Donald Mackay of Borgie, m. a dau. of James Mackay, 
tacksman of Skerray, and had issue : — John, of whom follows ; 
James ; and Elizabeth, m. Captain William Mackay of Skail (See 
Aberach Mackays). 

Vic. John Mackay of Borgie and Skerray, captain of the 
Tongue company of Sutherland Militia, m. Caroline, dau. of Colonel 
Hugh Mackay of Balnakeil, grandson of Hector Mackay Ilia., and d. 
in 1808, leaving issue : — 

i. Hugh, studying for the ministry, d. in 1816. 

ii. James, who obtained a tack of Skerray, 1818. 

Hi., iv. Donald ; and Isabella. They both d. young. 

v. Janet, m. Lieut. Eobert Mackenzie, son of Lieut. Mackenzie of 
Badnabay by his wife, a grand-daughter of John Mackay V. of 
Strathy.' Lieut. Eobert Mackenzie held Borgie in tack until 
about 1865, and d. in Skerray about 10 years thereafter. His 
issue was :— John ; Mackay ; Hugh ; James ; a dau. m. Rev. Mr. 
Eraser, Granton ; and a dau. m. a Mackay, sheep-farmer in 
Assynt. Most of the sons emigrated to Canada and Australia, 
and some of them married. 



V. ^()c "gtfchtcss a&TacIutm 

I. Angus Mackay, son of the 1st Lord Reay by his wife, Lady 
Mackenzie, was lieut.-col. of a Scots regiment in the service of 
Denmark (Spalding Memorials). He m. (contract 1 May, 1659) 
Catherine, dan. of Alexr. Gunn of Killearnan by his wife, Dame Mary 
Mackay, Dowager Lady Fowlis and dau. of Huistean Du XIII. of 
Strathnaver, to whom he gave sasine in life-rent of the lands of 
Froskil, 26 Dec, 1665. He was alive in 1699, but died before 1703, 
and had known issue a son, of whom follows : — 

II. John of Melness, m. (contract 26 July, 1699) Isobel, dau. of 
Captain Win. Mackay of Borley (See Scoury Mackays), and on 27 
July, 1699, gave her sasine of Froskil. As an elder of the Kirk he 
took a prominent part in the religious work and life of his day 
(Presbytery Record of Tongue). According to the "Ben Reay 
Notes," he had two sons and two daus. : — 

i. William, of whom follows. 

ii. John, Strathan-Tongue, of whom afterwards as Illb. 

The daus. were Isabella and Marion, one of whom m. James 
Mackay of Hope (See Excursus below). 

Excursus. — The dau. who m. James Mackay of Hope had Donald, of 
whom follows : — 

Donald of Hope, an elder of the Kirk (Presbytery Record of Tongue, 
20 June, 1776), m. a sister of James Mackay, tacksman of Skerray, and 
had issue as follows : — 

George of Hope ; Hugh ; and a dau. m. Angus Mackay, Hope, to 
whom she bore Isabella, of whom follows : — 

Isabella Mackay, m. "William Mackay, Hope, who served in the Eeay 

321 q2 



III. William, m. in 1727 Janet, dau. and co-heiress of George 
Mackay, 5th of Bighouse, and had by her two children as given 
below. He m., secondly, Ann, dan. of James Mackay, tacksman of 
Skerray, but no issue. His children were : — 

i. George, of whom follows. 

it. John, of whom afterwards as IVa. 


<$ e t> ^?e6igrcc 

«\V\\\\«WMV«W«W« ' 

I. A ii g u s , son of 2nd 
Lcl. Reay (Sec p. 197). 

II. John, m. 1699. 

III. William, m. 1727 

IV. George, sold 
wadset 1769. 
V. William, d. 

VI. Daniel, d. 1832. 

TO. George, d. 1880, 
no issue. 

John, m. 1756. 
(Line a.) 

d. 1835. 

(Line b). 


Alexr., d. 1770. 


lye, d. 1807. 

Isaac, d. 1877, 
with issue. 

Hugh m. 1748. 

(Line c.) 

Dr. Andrew, 

(1. 1S09. 

John, d. 1S90. 

Andrew, living 
with issue. 

Fencibles, and removed to Thurso at the "Clearances." The issue of this 
marriage was Donald, of whom follows : — 

Donald Mackay, tacksman of Melness and Skelpick in Strathnaver, of 
Morvich in Sutherland, and factor for the Crown in Caithness, m. Annie, 
dau. of Ealph Eeed, tacksman of Skelpick. He d. in 1880, leaving issue 
eight children as follows: — William, of whom follows; Diana (Mrs. 
Charles Macdonald) ; Isabella (Mrs. G. Campbell); Kate; Dora (Mrs. 
Robertson) ; Ella ; Marion (Mrs D. Campbell) ; and Anne. 

Provost William Mackay, of Thurso, m. Jemima, dau. of the Rev. Dr. 
W. R. Taylor, Thurso, by his wife Isobel, dau. of William Murray of 
Pitcalzean, Eoss, and d. in 1903 leaving issue as follows: — Donald, factor 
and banker, Thurso ; Walter, banker, Madras, India ; Ealph, a lawyer ; 
Isobel ; Anne ; and Nora. 


IV. George, captain of an independent company which he raised 
in the '45. He sold his rights over Melness to his younger brother 
John, 20 Dec, 1769, and having m. a dau. of John Gunn of Dalmore 
settled in London, where he d. leaving an only sou William, of whom 

follows : — 

V. William, who d. in London, 1820, m. Mary Mackenzie, issue 
five sons and one dau. : — 

i. Daniel Langton, of whom follows. 

The other children were:— John; William; George, m. Christina 
Mackenzie ; Robert ; and Elizabeth. None of these had issue. 

VI. Daniel Langton Mackay, avIio d. in London, 1832, m. 
Elizabeth Briggs, and had a son George Daniel, of whom follows : — 

VII. George D. Mackay, who inherited a large fortune from 
his uncle, George Mackay, d. at Brighton without issue, 2 Jan., 1880, 
and his estate is in Chancery {Ben Reay Notes). 

IVa. John Mackay, son of William III., a lieut. of the old 
Sutherland regiment, purchased the wadset of Melness from his 
brother George, and m. Esther, dau. of Kenneth Sutherland of 
Torbol, who bore him two sons : — 

i. Kenneth, of whom follows. 

ii. Major William, of the 92nd Highlanders, m. Elizabeth, dau. of the 
Kev. Aeneas Macleod, Rogart, and d. at Golspie leaving four 
sons and two dans. : — 

1. William, m. Ann, dau. of Magnus Omond, and d. in 1856 
leaving an only son William Kenneth, who d. unmarried 
at Stromness, 1884. 


2. John, d. unmarried in Trinidad. 

3. James, d. unmarried in Trinidad. 

4. Aeneas, d. unmarried in Australia. 

5. Esther, d. unmarried. 

G. Jane, m. Roderick Noble, Professor of Physical Science, 
Cape Town, and has issue. 

Va. Kenneth, captain of the 92nd Highlanders, inherited 
Torbol, and was for some time factor for Eric, 7th Lord Reay. He 
m. Janet, dau. of Major George Sutherland of Mid-Garty, and d. at 
Iuvercarron, 1835, with issue five sons and four daus. : — 

i. George, d. unmarried in the AVest Indies. 

ii. John, d. unmarried in London. 

Hi. Robert, British Consul at Maricabo, m. Romano Teresa Trocomis, 
and d. in 1853 leaving two daus. : — 

1. AAllliamina Mackay, m. Adolphe Jules d'Empaire, Consul 

at Maricabo, with issue. 

2. Maria Mackay, m., first, Edmund Reick, and secondly, 

Rudolfo Hernandez, with issue. 

iv. Eric, a surgeon in Birmingham, m. Hannah Fowler, and had one 
son, who d. unmarried. 

v. Ebenezer, m. Louisa Macdonald, and had two sons who both d. 

vi. Esther, m. William Murray of Pitcalzean as his second wife, but 
had no surviving issue. 

vii. Jane, m. William Murray yr. of Pitcalzean, and had six children : — ■ 

1. William H. Murray, Sheriff-Substitute of Ross, d. 


2. Kenneth Mackay Murray of Geanies, m. Ann, dau. of 

Thomas Middleton, and left the following issue : — 
William Hugh Eric, now lieut.-col. of the Royal Scots, 
m. Jessie, dau. of Capel Hanbmy, with issue ; Thomas 
M. Murray, W.S., Edinburgh, m. Caroline, dau. of 


Walter Ross Macdonald, with issue; Kenneth S. Murray; 
George Murray ; Sutherland Murray ; Anne ; and 
Elizabeth, m. Captain Reginald Boys, R.E., D.S 0. 

3. Sutherland Murray, Kirkton, m. Alexandra, dau. of Dr. 

Ross; Tain, who bore him two sons and three dans. 

4. George J. Murray, W.S , d. unmarried. 

5. Captain Hugh Murray, of 3rd Bat. Seaforth Highlanders, 

d. unman ied. 

6. Georgina Murray, d. unmarried. 

viii. Williamina, m. Rev. A. Noble, Loudon, and d. in 1884 leaving 
issue : — Kenneth ; Eric ; and Margaret. 

ix. Mary, m. Major Pope of Navidale, and had issue : — Jessie ; 
Robert ; Kenneth ; William ; Jessie Sutherland, m. Charles J. C. 
Wahab with issue; and Roberta, now living in London. 

Illb. John Mackay, Stratlian-Tongue, sou of John II., m. 
Margaret, dau. of William Munro, Durness, and had four sons: — 

i, Alexander, of whom follows. 

ii. George, who served in Col. Hugh Mackay's regiment of Scots in 
Holland, m. Barbara, dau. of Roderick Macleod, Assynt, and 
had a family who settled in Holland. 

Hi. Hugh, of whom as lVc. 

iv. Lieut. -Col. lye, in the Dutch service in 1778, m. Barbara Gordon, 
and had issue : — lye, adjutant of the 2nd Bat. Orange regiment, 
Holland ; George ; Robert ; Aeneas ; Joseph ; Isabel ; Barbara ; 
Elizabeth ; and Anna. All these settled in Holland. 

IVb. Major Alexander, of a Swedish regiment in Pomerania, 
m. Marion Gunn, and d. at Strathan-Tongue in 17/0, having issue 
four sons and three daus. : — 


i. lye, of whom follows. 

ii. George, served in the Reay Fencibles, m. a Miss Wallace, and 
emigrating to Canada is lost trace of. 

Hi. Hugh, served in the Reay Fencibles, d. unmarried. 

iv. Thomas, m. in Lanark, where he had an interest in some mills. 
No known issue. 

The daus. were : — Mrs. Captain Mackenzie ; Isobel ; and Henrietta 
— the last two d. unmarried in London. 

Vb. Ive, who d. at Edinburgh in 180/, m. Mary, dan. of Alexr, 
Melville, shipmaster, Elie, and had issue as follows : — 

i. John, who d. at Leith in 1865, m. Margaret, dau. of George Swan, 
Elie, and had six children : — 

1. lye, served in the 42nd Highlanders, and d. in India, 1861. 

2. John, known as "Ben Reay," author of An old Scots 

Brigade and of various papers bearing upon the history 
of our Highland regiments. He was twice married, but 
d. 14 Nov., 1896, leaving no surviving issue. 

3. Jessie, m. Rev. James Pullar, minister at Toledo, Ontario, 

1894, and has surviving issue : — Edith ; and Thomas 

4. 5, 6. Mary; Elizabeth; and Margaret. 

ii. Alexander, who d. at Richmond, Australia, 1876, m. Helen, dau. 
of Anthony Laird, Leith, but no surviving issue. 

Hi. Isaac, of whom follows. 

iv., v., vi. Robert, d. unmarried ; Helen, m. a Colonel Grant, and d. 
without issue in 1839 ; and Marion, d. unmarried. 

VIb. Isaac, 1 who served in the St. Helena regiment of Artillery, 
m. Jane, dau. of Alexr. Smith, Leith, and had issue : — 

i. Isaac, of whom follows. 

ii. Alexander, has extensive Flour Mills in St. Iago, Chille, to which 

1. Isaac, as already observed, is a monstrously corrupt form of lye. 

ANDREW MACKAY, LL.D.. F.R.S., Edin., &c. 


he migrated in 1886. He m. Jane Bran ton, and has is.Mie :— 
George ; Frederick; Alexander ; and Elizabeth. 

Hi., iv. Mary, m. David Bell, Edinburgh, issue two daus. ; and A.ngus. 

Vllb. Isaac, a merchant in Liverpool, d. at Birkenhead in 1877. 
He. m. Jane, dau. of Thomas Reed, and left issue : — -William ; 
Crichton ; and Hector. 

IVc. Hugh Mackay, son of John Illb., Strathan-Tongue. He 
is identified as Hugh, a Melness Mackay, who went to Taiu and 
thence passed to Dunfermline, where he m. Alison Mudie, about 
1/48, having issue four sons and three daus., one of whom was Dr. 
Andrew, and of whom follows : — 

Vc. Andrew, LL.D., F.R.S.E., etc., became superintendent of 
the Astronomical Observatory, Aberdeen, and author of numerous 
mathematical works, of which the best known are " Mackay's Com- 
plete Navigator" and "Mackay on the Longitude." In 1804 he 
removed to London, where he became examiner for Trinity House, 
the H.E.I.C., etc. (See Dictionary of National Biography for further 
particulars). He m. Margaret Younger, and d. in 1809, leaving the 
following nine children : — 

The eldest seven were: — Andrew, d. 1S20; Alison, d. 1820; 
Margaret, m. James Brooks, and d. in I860 ; Martha, m. Andrew 
Milne, and d. in 1832 ; William, d. 1827 ; Jane, m. John 
Dawson, and d. 1886 ; Isabella, d. 1805 ; the two youngest were 
as follows : — 

i. John Selby Mackay, of whom follows. 

ii. George Gray Mackay, coalmaster in Grangemouth, who d. 1890, 


m Elizabeth, dau. of Rev. Professor Win. Taylor, Original 
Secession Church, Perth, with issue three sons and two dans. : — - 

1. Andrew Younger Mackay, Provost of Grangemouth, m. 

Dorothea, dau. of Rev. Alexr. Munro, U.F. Church, 
Alness, Ross. 

2. William Taylor Mackay, Middlesbro, m. Lilian Wilson and 

has issue:— George; Ann; Florence; Jessie; and Kenneth. 

3. George G. Mackay, drysalter, Liverpool, m. Mary, dau. of. 

Captain Broadfoot of the Mercantile Marine and lieut. of 
the R.N.R, by whom he has surviving issue a dau., 

4. Elizabeth, m. Rev. John Sinclair, late of Free St. Bernard's, 

Edinburgh, and has issue one dau. : — Elizabeth, m. 
Christopher Cuthbert Curwen. 

5. Margaret. 

Vic. John Selby Mackay, banker, coalmaster, and shipowner, 
Grangemouth (who d. 1890), m. Margaret Bogue, and had seven 
children : — 

i. Andrew, of whom follows. 

ii. Joseph, in Helensburgh, m. Jessie Melville, and has issue : — 
Evelyn ; Margaret ; Hugh ; Thomas ; Francis ; Joseph ; Eric ; 
Richard ; Allan ; Hilda ; and Clare. 

Hi., iv., v., vi. John ; Marion ; Margaret ; and Isabella. 

vii. William George, m. Christina Harrison, and has issue: — Jane; 
Margaret ; John j and William. 

VIIc. Andrew Mackay, coalmaster, shipowner, and Provost of 
Grangemouth, m. Alexandrina M. Lindsay, and has issue : — John ; 
Margaret ; Alexander ; Arthur ; Mabel ; Jessie : Archibald ; and 


VI. ^Ijc gmntuDoofc j&Tac&ags. 

I. The Hon. Charles Mackay, son of Donald, 1st Lord Reay, 
by his 3rd wife Marjory, dau. of Francis Sinclair of Stirkoke, was the 
first of this branch. He m. Elizabeth, dau. of Captain Wm. Mackay 
of Borley (See Scour y Mackays), and on 28 May, 1679, gave sasine 
to his wife in liferent and to his eldest son Donald in fee of his 
wadset lands of Sandwood, Alschermore, etc. His known issue was 
three sons and two daus. : — 

i. Donald of Farr, obtained a wadset of Eriboll in 1706, which he 
resigned in 1719 when he secured a wadset of Farr, Swordly, 
and Kirtomy for 13,458 merks. He m. Margaret, dau. of 
William Sutherland of Riarchar, and dying c. 1720 his brother 
Robert became curator to his three children, who were as 
follows : — Lieut. Donald of the Scots Brigade in Holland, who 
fell in the Dutch campaign of 1745, when the wadset of Farr 
passed to his uncle Major Hugh of Riarchar ; Jane, became the 
2nd wife of John Mackay of Kirtomy {See Steathy Mackays) ; 
Margaret, m. James Douglas, afterwards Sir James, British 
Consul at Naples {Blk. MS.). 

ii. Robert, tutor of Farr, of whom follows. 

Hi. Major Hugh, served on the staff of General Oglethorpe during the 
Spanish invasion of Georgia in 1742, and took a prominent part 
in organizing the militia of Strathnaver and Sutherland during 
the '45. He had a tack of Riarchar, near Dornoch, and 
inherited the wadset of Farr. He m., first, 28 July, 1737, 
Margaret, eldest dau. of Alexr. Gunn of Badinloch, Chief of 
Gunn, by his wife Mary Mackay, and had by her an only dau. 
Elizabeth (Reg. of Deeds: Mackenzie Office). He m., secondly, 
Mary Ross by whom he had three sons : — Hugh, resigned the 

329 e2 


wadset of Fan 5 May, 1760 ; Donald, served heir to his elder 
brother 7 Jan., 1764, and whose will is recorded in the 
Edinburgh Testaments 15 Sep., 1772 ; and Alexr. 

vi. A dau. m. William Poison of Rogart, and bore to him Margaret, 
who m. John Mackay, surgeon, Falsaid (See Scouey Mackays). 

v. Margaret, m. John Sutherland of Keoldale, issue two : — Kenneth, 
m. his cousin Catherine, dau. of Robert Mackay, tutor of Farr, 
and had a son John who m. Isobel, dau. of John Mackay of 



I. Charles Mackay, son of 
1st Ld. Reay (See p. 197). 


I I 

II. Robert, had bond And others 




III. George of Bighouse, Aeneas of Scotston, And others 

d. 179S. d. 1807, with issue. 

I (Line aj. 

I I I 

IV. Major Colin, Major Donald And others. 

d. 1841. with issue. 

V. James, d. 1S66. 
VI. Colin, m. in 1890 
and has issue. 

Clashneach (See Strathy Mackays) ; and Barbara Sutherland, 
m. Donald Mackay, Clashneach, and had issue (George, an 
officer of the H.E.I.C. ; Marion, m. John Mackay, Borley; Mary, 
m. Neil Morrison, Kylestrome; and Margaret, who d. 1809, m. 
James Clark, issue seven sons and two dans.). 

II. Robert, tutor of Farr, had a tack of Scourymore, etc., 2 
March, 173G, and in 1749 had a bond for £500 stg. over Sconry. 
Besides being curator of the children of his deceased brother Donald, 
in 1752 he became one of the trustees for the children of his deceased 
brother Major Hugh (Beg. of Deeds: Mackenzie Office). He in., 


first, Elizabeth, dau. of Mackenzie of Glenlerig, Assynt, issue four 
children : — 

i. Hugh, d. unmarried in 1746. See his elegy by Rob Donn. 

ii. Jane, m. Sheriff-Substitute Donald Forbes of Ribigill. One of the 
children was Major Donald Forbes of the Reajr Fencibles, who 
had a tack of Ribigill, Kinloch, etc., and lived at Melness House 
in 1821. The major was m. and had issue. 

Hi. A dau. m. Donald Mackay, Sandwood. 

iv. A dau. m. Hugh Mackay, Kinlochbervie, and had a son of whom 
follows : - Robert, m. a dau. of James Mackay tacksman of 
Skerray, and had the following issue according to the Ben Reay 
Notes (Captain Hugh, of the Royal African Corps, d. unmarried ; 
Captain Hector, who held a post in the War Office ; lye, m. near 
Laxford ; and Captain James of the 60th Foot d. in Australia). 

Robert, the tutor, m., secondly, Janet, dau. of John Mackay of 
Kirtomy (See Strathy Mackats), issue seven sons and five 
daus. : — 

v. George of Bighouse, of whom follows. 

vi. Captain John of the 31st Foot, Auldany, Assynt. He m. Jane, 
dau. of Patrick Gray of Easteriairg, and d. in 1773 leaving 
four daus. : — Joan, m. Captain Alexr. Clark of the Reay 
Fencibles, with issue; Betty, m. Kenneth Mackenzie, Laidbeg, 
Assynt, issue nine, of whom the eldest, John, succeeded to the 
Milmont baronetcy (Ben Reay Notes) ; Janet, m. Lieut. Hugh 
Clark of the Reay Fencibles, with issue ; and Lucy, m. Captain 
William Scobie, Ardvarr, with issue. 

vii. Hugh, a surgeon, m. Isabella, dau. of Colonel Hugh Mackay of 
Balnakeil by his first wife, Francis de la Rue, no issue. 

mii Rupert, a planter in Jamaica, m. but no issue. 

ix. Captain Aeneas of Scotstoun, of whom afterwards as Ilia. 

x. Major Donald of the H.E.I.C. Artillery, d. unmarried at Madras, 
1783 (Blk. MS.). 

xi. Captain Alexr. of the 42nd Highlanders, d. during the American 

The daus. were : — Mrs. Kenneth Scobie, Auchiemore, 


with issue ; Mrs. Robert Gordon, Auchness, with issue ; Mrs. 
Captain John Gray ; Mrs. Donald Mackay, Sfcinet, who had 
Captain Donald of the 21st Foot; and Catherine (Mrs. Kenneth 
Sutherland, Keoldale). 

III. George Mackay of Handa, afterwards of Bighouse, had a 
company in the Duke of Gordon's North Fencibles in 1778, became 
lieut.-col. of the Reay Fencibles, and d. at Scotstoun in 1798. He m. 
Louisa Campbell, who d. 1834, portioner of Bighouse, and purchased 
from the other portioners the remainder of the estate. They had 
issue twenty-one children : — ■ 

i. Hugh, m. Miss Wykes, and d. without issue at Antigua, 1818. 

ii. Robert, d. unmarried at Antigua, 1793. 

Hi. Colin of Bighouse, of whom follows. 

iv. Major Donald of the 70th Foot, d. at New Ross, Ireland, 1832. 
He m. Mary, dau. of Neil Macinnes, issue five : — 

1. George, a surgeon of the H.E.I.C. and afterwards of H.M. 

Madras Army, who served in the Burmah expedition of 
1852-4, and d. at Edinburgh in 1900 a deputy-surgeon- 
general. He m. Ellen Rose, dau. of Arthur J. Robertson 
of Inches, Inverness, issue nine : — Donald, d. young, 
1857 ; Marianne, d. young, 1857 ; Mary Macinnes, m. 
Lieut.-Col. Robert D. Murray of the Indian Medical 
Staff, and Professor of Surgery, Calcutta, with issue 
(Rose ; Marian Effie ; Eric ; Robert George ; Ronald Neil ; 
and Roua Jean) ; Ellen Cameron, d. young, 1S60; Arthur 
Neil, d. young, 1860; George, ophthalmic surgeon, 
Edinburgh, m. in 1896 Elise Marjory, dau.' of Lieut.-Col. 
A. B. Machardy, R.E., C B., chairman of the Prison 
Commission for Scotland, with issue (Donald James ; 
Alexr. George ; and Kenneth Charles) ; Colin James, 
indigo planter, Bengal ; Captain Henry Forbes, of the 
Royal Marine Artillery, m. Margaret Evelyn, eldest dau. 
of Major P. L. Gordon, late Madras Cavalry, with issue 
(Henry Neill ; and George Lawrence) ; Julia Effie; Lucy 
Campbell, m. Archibald F. P. Paxton, with issue (Nellie 
Prudence ; George Archibald ; Archibald Francis ; and 
Llewellyn Colin). 

2. Colonel Neil Macinnes of the Royal Artillery, served 

during the Crimean War, and d. at Merut, 20 Aug., 




1875. He m. Harriet Wood, with surviving issue Emma 

3. Margaret Gillanders, m. in 1852 Captain James Cameron, 

issue three sons and one dan. 

4. Louisa Campbell, m. in 1844 Henry M. Fowler of Baddery 

Boss, issue six sons and three daus. 

5. Euphemia Garden, m. William Eobertson yr. of Kindeace, 

Ross, with issue : - Mary Helen ; and Helen Gwendoline. 

v. Charles Eoss Mackay, d. of wounds received on board H.M. Frolic, 
18 Oct., 1 8 1 "2, in an engagement with the American sloop Wasp. 
His sword was sent to his mother, along with a piece of plate 
subscribed by the merchants of Bristol. 

in. Major Honeyman Macqueen Mackay of the 90th Foot, d. at Bath 
unmarried, 1875. He served with the 68th in the expedition to 
Walcheren in 1809, and was present at the capture of Flushing. 
He served in the Peninsula 1811-14, fought at Salamanca, the 
Retreat from Burgos, Vittoria (where he was wounded on the 
head), Pyrenees, Neville, and Orthes. 

vii. Eobert, d. umarried at Antigua, 1816. 

viii. A son, d. young. 

ix. Janet (who d. 15 March, 1857), m. Sir Benjamin Duff Dunbar of 
Hempriggs, near Wick, with issue. 

x. Elizabeth, d. young. 

xi. Jean, m. George Sackville Sutherland of Uppat, and d. at Inver- 
ness in 1858, with issue : James, m. G. M. Mackenzie ; George, 
m. Elizabeth Walker ; Ewen, m. Elizabeth Mackenzie ; Duncan, 
m. Lucy Hawkshaw ; Hugh ; Eobert, m. G. dimming; Charles; 
Elizabeth ; Louisa, m. J. Gibson ; and Jane, m. John Wilson, 

xii. Alexandrina, m. Gabriel Eeed of Gordonbush, and d. at Kilcolum- 
kill in 1834, issue nine: — Louisa, m. Eev. Dr. George Mackay, 
Clyne, afterwards Free Hi^h, Inverness ; Mary, m. Captain 
Munro, brother of Munro of Allan ; Georgina, m. Dr Eoss of the 
7th Dragoons; Aeneasina, m. Hugh Houston, banker, Golspie; 
Dorothy, m., first, Mr Hood and, secondly, Eev. John Murray, 
Brora; Hughina, m. Mr. Duncan; Ellerington, m. Jane Houston 
and had an only child Mary Thomasina, who m. T. E. Buckley 



of Rossal, Invernessshire, issue four (Ellerington ; Guy Charles; 
Elizabeth ; and Eveline) ; Robert; and John. 

xiii. Joanna (who d. 7 Oct., 1827), m. James Sinclair of Forss, Reay, 
issue ten :— James, m. Jessie Wemyss ; George, m. Francis A. 
Boasman ; Captain William of the 13th Light Infantry ; Robert, 
d. young ; Hugh, d. in Australia ; Jean ; Aeneasina, m. Win. 
Stevenson, with issue ; Louisa, m. Hector Macneil ; Elizabeth ; 
and Janet. 

xiv. Louisa Campbell Mackay, d. unmarried, 1815. 

xv. Aeneasina, m. John Fearn, an Indian planter, with issue: — 
Aeneasina, d. unmarried at Edinburgh, 1877. 

xvi. Georgina, m. Lieut.-Col. Donald Macneil of the 91st Highlanders, 
son of Macneil of Colonsay, issue four : — General Donald of the 
Royal Artillery, d. at Edinburgh without surviving issue, 1891 ; 
Alexr. and George, twins, without issue , and Georgina, d. in 
Jamaica, without issue. 

xvii. Hariet Marion, m. Harry Hackshaw, a West Indian planter, and 
d. in 1877 in her 92nd year, the last survivor of this large 
family, issue eight :— Harry, d. in 1848; Robert James, m. with 
issue; Thomas, drowned in 1848; Lucy, m., first, D. F. Suther- 
land and, secondly, Sir John Hall, knighted for medical service 
performed during the Crimean War; Lydia Jane; Hariet 
Marion, m. W. H. Nicol ; and Georgina Lydia. 

xviii. Henrietta, d. unmarried. 

xix. Margaret Carr, who d. in 1850, m. Captain Popplewell, R.N., 
issue seven : — Admiral George, unmarried ; Thomas, d. leaving 
issue; Mathew, m. his cousin Geraldine Mackay, with issue; 
Crawford Kerr, m. Miss Bishop, with issue ; Honeyman Charles, 
d. 1852; Louisa Campbell, second wife of Robert J. Hackshaw, 
no issue ; Sarah Elizabeth, m. Rev. Wm. Boys Johnstone, with 
issue ; and Margaret Carr, d. unmarried. 

xx. Duncan Forbes, m. Captain Pearce, R.N., issue three : — Lieut.- 
Col. Joseph Pearse of the H.E.I.C, d. at Madras, 1860; Lucy, 
m. Mr. Warner of Ardier, Ayr, with issue; and Anne d. 

xxi. A child d. in infancy. 

IV. Colin Campbell Mackay, became captain in the 78th 
Highlanders in 1805 having raised a company of men for that corps 


among his Strathhalladale tenantry. He served in Calabria in 1806, 
was present at the battle of Maida and the capture of Catrone. In 
1807 he served in Egypt, was present at the attack on the fort and 
heights of Alexandria, the siege of Rosetta, and the actions at EI 
Hamet on the 20th and 21st April. At this last battle he was 
dangerously wounded in the neck by a sabre cut, got a ball in the 
head and another in the foot at the same time. Of the Grenadier 
company, whom he led that day and who were mostly his own 
tenantry, two subalterns and fifty-nine men were killed out of a total 
of seventy. The nine survivors, who were all wounded except one, 
practically hewed their way through the serried ranks of the enemy 
carrying their wounded captain along with them, although he was 
supposed to be mortally hurt (Bighouse Papers). Captain Mackay, 
however, recovered of his wound and lived to take part in the 
1814-15 campaign in Holland and the Netherlands, including both 
the actions of Merxcm and the bombardment of Antwerp. He 
became major, 11 Aug., 1814, and was promoted lieut.-col. on 10th 
Jan., 1837. 

In 1830 he sold Strathhalladale or Bighouse to the Marquis of 
Stafford, bought a place in Berwickshire which he called Bighouse, 
and afterwards bought an estate near Arisaig to which he also gave 
that name. He m. Marjory Gerard, dau. of Mr. Cruikshank of 
Strath cathro, and d. 23 June, 1841, issue nine : — 

i. Lieut. George of the 62nd Foot, m. Anne Moore, dau. of Campbell 
of Melfort, but d. without issue. 

ii. James Craikshank Mackay, of whom follows. 

Hi. Patrick (d. 4 March, 1893), m. Eliza, dau. of Major limes of Lake 
Lines, N.S. Wales, and had issue : — Patrick Colin, m. in 1891 at 
Newcastle, N.S.W., Catherine, dau. of John Healey, Dunedin, 
with issue (Campbell Lines ; Marjorie Catherine ; and Ednid) ;. 
George Archibald, surgeon, m. Ethel Geraldine, dau. of Dr. 
Gerard of Paramata, K.S.W., no issue; James Henry, m. in 1891 
at Hobart, Tasmania, Emily Florence, dau. of Basset Dickson of 


Glen Ayr, Tasmania, with issue (Colin Patrick ; James Donald ; 
Margaret Emily ; and Ann Mary) ; and Margaret Gordina. 

iv. Hugh. 

v. Colin Campbell, m. in 1874 Elizabeth Clarke, with issue: — Colin; 
Hugh Gerard ; George ; Marjory ; Elizabeth ; Roderick ; Eva ; 
and Geraldine. 

vi. Louisa, m. in 1874 Duncan, eldest son of General Sir Alexr. 
Cameron, K.C.B., of Inverailort, but no surviving issue. 

to. Marjory, m. in 1861 Harry Y. D. Copland, W.S., Edinburgh, and 
d. without issue in 1875. 

viii. Geraldine, who d. in 1888, m. her cousin Mathew James, son of 
Captain Popplewell, issue four sons and one dau. 

ix. Wilhelmina, residing in Edinburgh. 

V. James Cruikshank Mackay, who d. 22 Feb., 1866, m. 
Margaret Anna, only child of Major Duncan Macpherson of 
Drummond House, Inverness, issue eight : — Colin, of whom follows ; 
Duncan of the Indian Civil Service, m. in 1885 Marian, dau. of 
Captain Wimberley, late 79th Highlanders, issue four (James; 
Douglas ; Ronald ; and Helen) ; George, d. at Travancore, India, 20 
Jan., 1888 ; James Patrick, now in British Columbia ; Margaret 
G. S. ; Charlotte Jane, m. in 1892 at Madras, Edwin P. Popert of the 
Indian Forest Department, and d. in 1894 leaving one son ; also two 
who d. young, Frederick; and Marjory. 

VI. Colin Campbell Mackay, now farming in British 
Columbia, m. in 1890 Rosina Mary, dau. of John Berry of Cochin, 
Malabar, with issue: — James Alexander; Mary, d. young; and Mary 

II la. Captain Aeneas Mackay of Scotstoun, son of the tutor 
of Farr, raised a company for Lord Macleod's Highlanders in which 


he served for some time, but got transferred into a cavalry regiment 
of the H.E.I. C. In 1780 he was desperately wounded at the battle 
of Conjeveram, where he was taken prisoner. He remained in the 
hands of Hyder Ali till April, 1784, when he returned to Scotland 
and bought the estate of Scotstoun, Peebles. By two separate 
transactions, in 1805 and 1807, he afterwards sold the property for 
£20,000 to Sir Thomas Gibson Carmichael. He m., first, Janet 
Campbell, sister of the Countess of Caithness, and had by her one son 
Robert, a merchant in Glasgow, who m. Miss Bennet, without issue. 
He m., secondly, Miss Mylne of Mylnfield, and d. at Edinburgh 17th 
Nov., 1807, issue seven : — 

i. Donald Aeneas, an officer of the H.E.I.C. (who d. in India 22 
Nov., 1831), m. Miss Spotiswoode, issue three : —Aeneas, d. 
young ; Helen, m., first, Captain Macdonald, to whom she bore 
a dau., who m. a Mr. Maciver, and secondly, a Mr. Mackenzie, 
by whom she had issue (Aeneas Mackenzie, shipowner, 
Stornoway ; and two daus. m. to gentlemen of the name of 
Maciver) ; and Agnes, m., first, Captain Malcolm Macdonald, 
and secondly, Jonathan Duncan of Inverarity, without issue. 

ii. Thomas George, W.S., Edinburgh, m. Mary, dau. of John 
Kirkcaldy of Baldovie, Forfar, issue two : — 

1. Aeneas James George Mackay, advocate, occupied the 

Chair of History in Edinburgh University 1874-81, 
sheriff of Fife and Kinross 1881-1901, m in 1891 Lilian 
Alina, dau. of Colonel C. W. St. John, no issue. He 
now resides in Edinburgh. 

2. Emily Helen, m. in 1881 Swinton Melville of the Indian 

Civil Service. 

Hi. George Hugh, d. young. 

iv. James, military officer of the H.E.I.C, m. Emma Bishop, and d. in 
1831 without issue. 

v. Lieut.-Col. Aeneas John of the H.E I.C., served in the first and 
second expedition to Afghanistan in 1839 and 1842, in the 
expedition of 1843 to Maharajpoor, and in the army of the 
Sutlej in 1845, for which he got four medals and two clasps. 
He m. in 1849 Eleanor, dau. of William Roberts, banker, 



Glasgow, and d. in 1865, leaving three children: — Thomas, 
LL.D., a writer on political economy, m., first, Beatrice, dau. of 
the Rev. and Hon. John Bailie, canon of York, and secondly, in 
1905, Mary, dau. of the the late Colonel Grant, Nairn; Rev. 
James, Shrewsbury, m. in 1892 Georgina, dau. of the late 
Captain Kenyon, R.N., Shrewsbury, without issue ; and 
Margaret Elizabeth, d. unmarried. 

vi. Isabella, m. Hugh, second son of Sir Archibald Hojje of Pinkie, to 
whom she bore Major-General Archibald Hugh Hope of the 
Madras Cavalry, who m. Miss Jones with issue. 

vii. Helen, m., first, Sir David Moncrieffe, and secondly, the Earl of 
Bradford. She had no issue by the second husband, but by the 
first she had the following four children : — Sir Thomas 
Moncrieffe, who m. Lady Louisa, dau. of the Earl of Kinnoull, 
with issue ; Helen, m. Edmund Wright of Halston, Shrops, with 
issue ; Elizabeth ; and William Aeneas, who served in the 78th 


VII. ^f)c Shtfd) 'QTackavi 

Arms of Baron Barthold Mackay, 4th of this Family. 

I. The Hon. Aeneas Mackay, Brigadier-General, son of the 
2nd Lord Reay by Ins wife Barbara, dau. of Colonel Hugh Mackay of 
Scoury, was the first of this family. After prolonged military service 
in Scotland, Ireland, and on the Continent, he went to Bath for his 
health in 1697, where he d. after a few weeks' sojourn, worn out with 
war and wounds. A monument stands to his memory in Bath 
Cathedral. He m. in 1692 Margaret, Countess von Puckler, who d. 



his widow at Teil, Guelder! and, 14 Feb. 1/61, at the age of 90. 
They had one child, of whom follows : — 

II. Colonel Doxald Mackay, commanded his father's Scots 
regiment in the Dutch service, and fell at Tournay in 1745. He m. 
his cousin Arnolda Margaret, Baroness van den Steen, issue five : — 




Hon. Aeneas, 
Ld. Reay, d. 169' 

Donald, k. 1745. 

son of 2 
J (See p. 





And others. 


Baron Barthold, 
d. 1854. 


And others. 


Aeneas, 10th Ld. 
d. 1S76. 


Donald James, 
11th Ld. Reay. 





Baron Jolian, 
d. 1845. 


And others. 


with Tin 



with William, with 

i. Aeneas, of whom follows. 

ii. Major-General Frans, m. Baroness Maria Adelheid van Heckeren 
van Enghuizen, and d. without issue at Zutphen, 10 Aug., 1817. 

Hi. Captain John, d. unmarried. 

iv. Major Donald, d. at Zutphen, 5 Sep., 1782, m. Baroness Isabella 
Constantia de Geer van Rynhuyzen, Dowager-Countess Quart, 
issue two : — Donald Arnold Alexander, d. in the island of St. 
Domingo in 1796 ; and Jan Louis, settled at Cheltenham, 
England, where he m. Mary Ann Harrison, and d. in 1840 
without issue. 

v. Francis Jaeoba, m. Baron Vygh of the Seur and Appilenburgli, 
President of the Court of Justice, Guelderland, and had a dan. 
who m. Baron van Eek, one of the nobles of Guelderland. 




III. Colonel Aeneas Mackat of Mackay's Scots regiment in 
the Dutch service, m. Baroness Ursclina Philippina van Haeften, 
issue eight : — 

i. Captain Donald of tho Grenadiers of Mackay's Scots regiment, d. 
at Edinburgh in his twentieth year, 6 June, 1787. 

ii. Ensign Frans, d. 1787. 

Hi. Cornelius Anne, member of the Provincial States and chief 
magistrate of Zutphen, was admitted into the Ordre Equestre of 
Guelderland in 1819. On the 4th June, 1822, King William of 
the Netherlands created him a baron, and in 1841 he d. without 
issue although twice m. 

iv. Barthold Johan Christian, of whom follows. 

The dans, were : — Margarita ; Theodora ; Arnolda ; and Keiniera. 

IV. Baron Barthold Mackay, director-general of the Post at 
Rotterdam, was created baron by King William of the Netherlands 4 
June, 1822, and m. Baroness Anna Magdalena Frederica van Renesse 
van Wilp. Baron Mackay d. at his chateau of Ophemert, 
Guelderland, 26 Nov., 1854, after a life of piety and usefulness, in his 
eighty-first year, with issue two : — 

i. Baron Aeneas, of whom follows. 

ii. Baron Johan Francois Hendrick Jacob Ernestus, m. Baroness 
Margaretha van Lynden, and d. in 1845, leaving three sons and 
some daus. : — 

1. Baron Aeneas, b. 1838, ex-Prime Minister of the Nether- 

lands and President of the Second Chamber, m. Baroness 
Elizabeth van Lynden, issue one : — Eric, b. 1870. 

2. Baron Theodoor Philips, member of the Chamber of 

Accounts and ex-member of the Second Chamber, m. 
Juliana Anna, Baroness van Lynden, issue seven sons 
and two daus. : — Johan Jacob ; Constantyn Willem, m. 
Petronella Haeufft, issue a dan. ; Aeneas, an "Advocat en 
Procureur " at the Hague, m. Hermina Clasina den Beer 
Poortugall, issue a son ; Edward ; Dirk Kynhard Johan ; 


Daniel ; Norman ; Margaretha Clara Francoise ; and 
Maria Jacoba. 

3. William Karl, m. Nicoline Engelvaart, issue two. 

V. Baron Aeneas Mackat, G.C. of the Order of the 
Netherlands, late Vice-President of the Council of State. On the 
death of Eric, 9th Lord Reay, he succeeded as 10th Lord Reay in 
1875, and d. at the Hague 6 March, 1876. He m. Baroness Mary 
C. A. F. Fagel, issue two : — Donald James, of whom follows ; and 
John James, d. unmarried in 1859. 

VI. Donald James Mackay, 11th Lord Reay, G.C.S.I., 
G.C.I.E., LL.D., b. 22 Dec, 1839, Avas Governor of Bombay 1885-90, 
and Under-Secretary of State for India 1894-5. He m. in 1877 
Fanny Georgina J?me, C.I., dau. of the late Richard Hasler of 
Aldingbourne, Sussex, and widow of Captain Alexr. Mitchell, M.P., 
of Stow. 

VIII. ^fc-e gjivcbisl) ^Tachags, now von ^cu. 

These Mackays settled in Sweden in the time of the 1st Lord 
Reay, and came thither as members of the Scots regiment which he 
raised for service under Gustavus Adolphus. " With the regiment 
were several officers of the name of Mackay," says the Svensk 
Slaktbok, " who accompanied it to Sweden. Among those coming in 
with the said regiment were the undernamed James Mackay. and a 
Rudolph Mackay, whose son Isaac [corrupt form of lye] became 
proprietor of an ironwork in Gestrickland and married Anna 
Lenfstadius in 164/. This family has signed itself Mackay, Mackey, 
etc., but now calls itself von Key." The family settled in Gothland 
in the south-east corner of Sweden, and chiefly in the counties of 
Kalmar and Jonkoping. Our authority for the following account is 
wholly the Svensk S/aktbok, published in Stockholm by P. A. 
Norstedt, 1901. 

I. Lieut.-Col. James Mackay, settled in Upland, and had 
known issue a son, of whom follows. 

II. Lieut. Frederick, m. Elizabeth Pihlman, dau. of a 
merchant in Kalmar, and d. 1687, leaving a son, of whom follows : — ■ 

III. Jakob, royal bailiff in Tuna County, m. Margaretha Draugel, 
and d. 1735, with issue : — Johan, of whom follows ; and Frederick, of 
whom afterwards as IVb. 

IV. Johan, district governor in County Jonkoping and proprietor 
of Edshult, Kvensas, Johannesburg, etc., in said county. He m. 



Kristina M. Weisel, and d. in 1789, issue five: — Jakob Magnus, of 
whom follows ; Lieut. Hans Henrik of Jonkoping regiment, d. 1831 ; 
Kristina, m. Ensign Neil Sablefeldt ; Joanna ; and Elizabeth, m. Karl 
Astrand, a proprietor and district governor. 

|co ^?c6tgree. 

x. "*■ w t -v. t w \ x \ x T. t.% -v. * 

I. James. 


II. Frederick. 


III. Jakub. 



IV. Johan. 

V. Jakob Magnus. 

VI. Karl Johan. 

VII. Axel Ivar. 

(Line a.) 

Karl E. Georg. 

Karl Leonard. 

(Line b.) 

Karl Frederick 



Karl F. E. Emil. 

Mac Otto. 

V. Captain Jakob Magnus of the Life Guards Cavalry, 
proprietor of Edshult, etc., m. Cliarlotta >S. Hammarberg, and d. in 
180/, issue five : — Karl Johan, of whom follows ; Henrick, of whom 
afterwards as Via ; Cliarlotta, m. Karl Roscnquist, gentleman of the 
Bedchamber; Ulrick, m. a captain in the Kalmar regiment; Abela, 
m. a major of the Kalmar regiment. 

VI. Captain Karl Johan of the Kalmar regiment, proprietor 
of Edshult, etc., m. Louisa Buren, and d. in 1875, issue six: — Lieut. 
Karl Henrick Magnus of the Kalmar regiment, d. unmarried in 1865, 
and was buried in the family vault in Edshult churchyard ; Axel 
Ivar, joined the Danes in 1864 and fought at Dyboll, served with 
the Italians 1869-72 and took part in the storming of Rome, in 1892 
became a lieut.-col. in the Swedish army, and in 1895 retired into the 


Reserve ; Pontus Edward, surgeon, d. unmarried 1884 ; Hugo Emil ; 
Hedwig, m. Baron Emil Viktor Fleetwood, and d. in 1887, leaving 
issue ; and Louisa, m. Karl Pontus, proprietor of Boxholm. 

Via. Lieut.-Col. Henrick, son of Captain Jakob Magnus V., 
was governor of the citadel of Malmo, m. Caroline Abcrg, and d. in 
1861, issue two sons and some daus. : — Karl Emil Georg, of whom 
follows ; and Ernst Axel Henrik, Professor of Anatomy at Karolinska, 
m. Selma Godenius, and has a large family. 

Vila. Lieut.-Col. Karl Emil Georg, proprietor of Byested in 
Jonkoping, m. Hedwig Raaf, and d. in 1899, issue four: — Lieut. 
Karl Axel Henrik, d. unmarried in 1895 ; Karl Leonard, of whom 
follows; Karl Georg Vigo, adjutant of the Grenadier Bodyguard in 
1900 ; and Kerstin Elizabet, head of the School of Industry and Art, 

Villa. Karl Leonard, a naval officer, chief of the 1st 
Submarine Mining Co. in 1897, m. in 1895 Martha Scharp, and 
has issue. 

IVb. Frederik, son of Jakob III., proprietor of Vindo in 
Kalmar, m. Kristina Elertz, and d. in 1793, issue two: — Karl 
Fredrik, of whom follows ; and Louisa Kristina, m. Lieut. Baron 
Fredrik Vilhelm Fleetwood. 

Vb. Captain Karl Fredrik, fought during the war of 1/76, 
proprietor of Vindo and Styrnvick, m. Beata Sundewall, and d. in 
1817, issue one : — 



VIb. Captain Emil, of Smalaud's Dragoons, m. Baroness 
Caroline Fleetwood, and d. in 1820, issue two : — Karl F. E. Emil, of 
whom follows ; and Marie, m. Baron Karl Adam. 

Vllb. Karl F. E. Emil, a large proprietor in Kalmar, of which 
county he is M.P., and a prolific writer on political economy, m. 
Countess Sofia Posse, and d. in 1892, issue five : — Karl Adam, lost at 
sea ; Mac Otto Washington, of whom follows ; Karl Lage Einar, 
emigrated to Australia, and m. Emily Parot, with issue ; Ellen 
Karolina, lady lecturer at Stockholm Institute ; and Hedvig, m. 
Herman Peterson, prison director at Karlstad. 

VHIb. Mac Otto Washington, a proprietor in Kronsberg, m. 
Maria Schade, and has two children : — Ivar Emil Mac ; and Ellen 
Maria Louise. 

IX. "^Iig (fjctttottmg "giTackam 

Arms of M'Ghie of Balmaghie 

The Galloway McEths are divided into two main branches, the 
M'Ghies of Balmaghie and the M'Kies of Larg, of which the former 
may be the older, but the latter has the more numerous offshoots. 
They are one and the same family originally, although the names 
appear slightly different in script — a difference which was at first very 
much a matter of taste, but which custom petrified to some extent. 
The striking affinity between the arms of the two branches also 
indicates a close relationship. The arms of Balmaghie, which we 
give above, are blazoned by Sir George Mackenzie, "Sable, three 



leopards' heads erased, argent." The crest consists of a leopard's 
head erased, langued, ppr., with the motto Quae Sursum Volo. 
Corresponding to the leopards (Scots, lions) of M'Ghie, the M'Kies of 
Larg carry a lion in chief, of which we give a representation on page 
352. Thus both branches bore the lion with a difference. 


Bahnaghie, i.e., the Town of Mackay, Kirkcudbrightshire, was the 
seat of the family from very early times. Chamber's Caledonia, the 
Statistical Account, M'Kerlie's Galloway, etc., record a tradition that 
the lands and church derived their name from a Celtic chieftain, who 
settled there in the distant past. But in the Cart, of St. Cross the 
church of Kirkandrew, Balmakethe, is mentioned among various 
other benefices granted in the 12th century by Fergus of Galloway to 
the Abbey of Holyrood. The MacEths must, therefore, have been 
settled in that quarter before that date. Gilmyhel MacEth signed 
the Ragman Roll in 1296, and in 1339 a Michael Macge submitted to 
Edward III. (Rot. Scot.). In the Beg. Mag. Sig., 1426, Gilbert 
M'Gy is styled lord " of Balmage," and from him the descent can be 
traced for some generations. 

I. Gilbert M'Gy, Lord of Balmage, appears in the Exchequer 
Bolls of 1460. He was succeeded by William, of whom follows. 

II. William M'Gye, had sasine of Slogarie in 1471, and on the 
16 Aug., 1482, had a charter under the Great Seal of Balmage 
and Slogarie. As this charter bears, he m. Blanch de Levenax, 
widow of Fergus Macdowell of Spottis. This document is witnessed 
by a William Makgye of Pluntoun, who had a charter of the lands of 
Pluntoun, 14 Aug., 1484. William of Balmage had a son Nicholas, 
of whom follows. 


III. Nicholas, m. Elizabeth Maxwell, who bore him two 
sous : — Gilbert ; and William, who succeeded, and of whom follows. 
Gilbert, who predeceased his father, left two daus. (Acts & Decreets, 
149, 315): — Marion, in. John Redick of Balharro ; and Janet, m. 
Robert Charteris of Kelwood. 

IV. William, had a charter under the Great Seal of Balmage 
and Torris, 18 Mar., 1527. He had two sons: — Alexander, who 
succeeded; and James (P.C. Reg., 10 Mar. and 7 Apr., 1597), m. 
Jonet, dau. of William M'Ghie, burgess, Kirkcudbright. 

V. Alexander of Balmage, had a son Robert (Acts & Decreets, 
439, 210), of whom follows. 

VI. Robert, m. Grissel, dau. of John Charteris of Annisfield, 
and by her had a son John, of whom follows, and a dau. Marie (Acts 
<£• Decreets, 492, 155), who m. William Gordon of Airds. 

VII. John, for whom his grand-uncle James acted as tutor 
1629-37. John, who greatly extended his estate and was knighted, 
is first on record as Sir John in a sasine of 21 May, 1655 (Dumfries 
Sas.) He m. Barbara, dau. of Robert Anderson, burgess, Dumfries, 
by whom he had a son Alexr., of whom follows. 

VIII. Alexander, m., first, Margaret, dau. of Archibald M'Kie 
of Myretoun-M'Kie, now Merton Hall, but had no issue by her. He 
in., secondly, Elizabeth Stewart, by whom he had a son and two 
daus. The daus. were : — Elizabeth, m. John, eldest son of Robert 
Ferguson of Craigdarroch ( Dumfries Sas., 1682); and Florence, m. 
first, Roger, son of John Gordon of Airds, secondly, James, son of 
Robert Charteris of Kelwood, and thirdly, Thomas M'Lellan of 
Balmangan. Of the only son follows : — 

IX. William (Dumfries Sas., 10 July, 1693). He m. Anna 
Ballantyne, who bore him two sons: — John, who succeeded; and 
Alexander, a surgeon, bailie of the burgh of New Galloway, who had 


three daus. (Elizabeth, m. J. M'Cournty of Furnistoun ; Mary, in. 
Robert Macmillan in Barlow ; and Margaret). 

X. John McGhie, had sasine of Balinaghie, 10 May, 1704. He 
m. Isobel Gordon (Dumfries Sets., 17 May, 1712), youngest dau. of 
Alexander, Viscouut Kenmure, by his third wife, Lady Grissel, dau. 
of James, Earl of Galloway. He had by her Alexander, of whom 
follows ; and William. 

XI. Alexander, succeeded in 1732, and left a sou, of whom 

XII. John, succeeded in 1739, and had a son Alexr., who 
predeceased him. Alexander, however, m. Grissel, dau. of Alexander, 
Viscount Kenmure, and had a dau. Grissel, who m. Captain James 
Anderson of the Marines, without issue. 

William M'Ghie, merchant in Edinburgh, and his wife Eleanor 
M'Dowall had sasine of the estate of Balinaghie on 6 May, 1761, but 
in 1786 it was sold to Thomas Gordon. 


The M'Ghies of Airie and Airds sprang from Balinaghie, but we 
cannot say at what date. ■ The following James of Airie is the first 
whom we have been able to trace. 

I. James M'Ghie, had sasine of Airie and Culquhassan in Dec, 
1642. He m., first, Janet Gordon, and secondly, Anna Kennethie, 
by the latter of whom he had Alexander, who succeeded. 

II. Alexander, m., first, Anna Fullarton, and secondly, Florence 
Maxwell (Dumfries Sas., 29 Dec, 1703, and 15 Nov., 1705). By 
the second wife he had Alexander, who succeeded. 




III. Alexander, bought the estate of Airds 24 May, 1744, and 
was afterwards known as of Airds. He m. Elizabeth, dau. of Robert 
Gordon of Airds, and widow of Hugh Cairns of Lochhill (Dum. Sas., 
29 Sep., 1/24), issue one, of whom follows : — 

IV. Alexander, m., first, Elizabeth, dau. of Mr. Todd, banker, 
London, with issue : — John, of whom follows ; Mary, m. Mr. 
Maclellan, and d. in 1817; and Jessie, m. David Blair of Borgue. 
Alexander, m., secondly, Agnes M'Kie, and by her had Nathaniel, of 
whom we give a plate portrait. 

V. John of Castlehill, m. Jane, dau. of the Rev. Win. Donaldson, 
Parton, by whom he had six daus. : — Mary ; Isabella ; Elizabeth ; 
Jane ; Wilhelmina ; and Anne. The eldest, Mary, m. Rev. James 
Anderson, Stoneykirk, to whom she bore one surviving child, Jeanie 
(now Mrs. Captain Webster, Heathfield, Helensburgh). 


This branch dates back to the time of king Robert Bruce. 

According to Barbour's Metrical History of Bruce, the hunted king, 

escaping from the beagles of John of Lorn, made his way on foot and 

alone to an appointed trysting place near Loch Dee in Galloway, 

where he was hospitably entertained by widow Anabel and her three 

sons, M'Kie, M'Clurg, and Muiredach. During the night the king 

was joined by his brother and Sir James Douglas with about 150 

men, and next morning the widow's sons gave an exhibition of their 

prowess with the bow which greatly delighted the Bruce ; M'Kie 

with an arrow transfixed a brace of ravens perched upon a rock, 

while his brother Muiredach brought down the third corbie on the 



This incident is supposed to account for the brace of pierced 
ravens which find a place on the shield of M'Kie. The arms of 
M'Kie of Larg were never recorded in Lyon Register, but they are 
described in the Heraldic MSS. of Sir James Balfour, and may be 
blazoned as follows : — Argent, two ravens pendent from an arrow 
fessways piercing their necks proper, on a shield azure a lion passant 

Of these arms we give a 

of the field, armed and langued gides. 

Arms of M'Kie of Larg. 

representation here, but unfortunately our artist has omitted the crest 
and motto, which are respectively a raven proper and Labora. 
These arms are now borne by M'Kie of Bargaly, within a bordure 
componee of the first and second. 

When the king came to his own he did not forget the loyal widow 
and her gallant sons, who had fought for him so well. He bestowed 
upon the family " the hassock of land 'tween Palnure and Penkill," to 


wit, the thirty pound land of Cumloden in the parish of Minnigaff and 
stewartry of Kirkcudbright. It lies between the burns of Palnure and 
Penkill which flow into the River Cree, and measures about ten miles 
by three. It was divided into three ten pound lands, which were 
known as Cimilodcn-M'Kie, Cumloden-Murdoch, and Cumloden- 

Sir Patrick M'Kie and his successors heavily mortgaged the 
barony of Larg in the interest of the Solemn League and Covenant, 
and had their lands eventually forfeited. During the religious 
persecutions which followed three leading M'Kies, John of Larg, 
Anthony of Glencaird, and Alexr. of Drambuie, were condemned to 
death. They all escaped, however, but with the loss of their lands, 
which went to pay the cruel fines imposed. The only family that 
weathered the storm was M'Kie of Palgown, from which descended 
the present M'Kies of Bargaly, a family that has religiously striven 
with a great measure of success for more than a century now to 
repurchase the old M'Kie lands in Galloway. Long may their tree 

The first notice of the lands of Cumloden is the following in 
Robertson's Index: — "Carta Gilberti, fil. Nigelli, terrain partem terre 
de Cameleden, in vie. de Dumfries," which may be translated, charter 
of Gilbert, son of Neil, of the third part of the lands of Cumloden, in 
the sheriffdom of Dumfries — "terrain partem terre" being probably 
intended for " tertiam partem terre." According to the Exchequer 
Rolls, Cuthbert M'Makay paid £3 13s. 4d. for relief of lands in the 
county of Wigton, 1330. 

I. Malcolm M'Kie of Cumloden, is the first, however, from 
whom a direct descent cau be traced. He had two sons : — Patrick, 
of whom follows ; and Gilbert, m. Marion de Keth, by whom he got 
the third part of the barony of Craichlaw, Longaster, and 
Barmagachrie, c 1450 (Beg. Mag. Sig., v, 69,). 

II. Patrick, had sasine in 1471 of the lands of Cumloden- 




M'Kie, Fynataloch, Cloncert, Barnrower, and Baryarrak. He m. 
Marion Makmakene, by whom he got the lands of Drumnagarne 
(Reg. Mag. Sig., VII., 302), and had a son of whom follows. 

III. Patrick Makge of Larg, m. Janet, dau. of Uchtred 
Macdowall of Garthland, and widow of Alexr. Adair of Kinhilt, as a 
charter under the Great Seal shows, dated 1529. An interesting 
relic of this couple, a monumental stone built into the wall of the old 
kirk of Minnigaff, bears the inscription : — " Hie jacet — Patricus M'Kc 

The Minnigaff Stone. 

de Caloda me fieri fecit" (Here lies — Patrick M'Ke of Camloden 
caused me to be made). The known issue of Patrick was two 
sons : — Patrick, of whom follows ; and Archibald of Stranord who 
had three children (Alexr. ; Patrick of Craignyne ; and Margaret, m. 
Patrick Heron of Kironghtree). 

IV. Patrick of Larg, m. in 1550 Margaret, dau. of Alexr. 
Stewart of Garlies, and by her had issue : — Alexr., of whom follows ; 
Duncan of Palgown ; and Patrick. 


V. Alexander (who predeceased his father in 1591, and whose 
widow m., secondly, Alexr. Gordon of Clanyard), m. Katherine, dau. 
of Sir Patrick Agnew of Lochnaw, hereditary sheriff of Wigton, 
contract dated 8 Oct., 1575, with issue: — Patrick, of whom follows; 
a son who had three sons (Alexr. ; Patrick, who succeeded to Larg, 
16-16 ; and James of Crosbie, who had a son Robert, whose son John 
in 1691 succeeded to Larg and Palgown). 

VI. Patrick, had a charter under the Great Seal, 4 March, 
1598, as Patrick Makkie, eldest son of the late Alexr. Makkie, son 
and heir apparent of Patrick Makkie of Larg, of the lands of 
Camloden, Barrawer, Calcathane, Biach, Camden, Fyntillach with 
the isle in the loch thereof, Clonlouchagach, Garser, Baryarrock, 
Barjargane, all in Wigtonshire, and Clonquhard in Kirkcudbright- 
shire, now created into the free barony of Larg with the fortalice of 
Culgour as chief messuage. 

Patrick, who was knighted before 1610, joined the regiment 
raised by Sir Donald Mackie of Strathnaver for service under the 
King of Denmark, and was wounded at the battle of Oldenburgh. 
He returned from the Continent in 1628, and that year became M.P. 
for the stewartry of Kirkcudbright, a position which he filled till 
1639. Sir Patrick, an ardent Covenanter, was chosen president of 
the first meeting of Kirkcudbright stewartry War Committee on 27 
June, 1640, and soon afterwards commanded a regiment of Galloway 
horse at the battle of Newburn, in which his only son Alexander fell 
after capturing a standard from the enemy. Zachary Boyd in a long 
poem entitled " Newburn Book" thus deplores the fall of young 
M'Kie :— 

"In this conflict, which was a great pitie, 
We lost the son of Sir Patrick M'Ghie." 

Sir Patrick m., first, Susanna, 3rd dau. of Sir Thomas Kennedy of 


Culzean, no issue. He m., secondly, Mary, dau. of Sir Uchtred 
Macdowall of Garthland, issue five : — 

Alexr., k. at Newburn in 1640; Jean, m. John Houston of 
Drumastane, by whom she had a son Patrick ; a dau. m Alexr. 
Murdoch of Cumloden ; Agnes, m. George, son of John Gordon 
of Airds ; and Grizel. 

He m., thirdly, Isobel Kerr, Lady Greenheid, who survived him. 
Sir Patrick d. in 1645, and was succeeded by his nephew, Patrick 
M'Kie, bailie in MinnigafF, of whom follows. 

VII. Patrick in MinuigafT, in. Agnes (Bargaly Charters, under 
CraignellJ, issue one son of whom follows : — 

VIII. Patrick, was infeft in Larg in 1662, and had a son John 
(Galloway Charters), who m. Margaret, youngest dau. of Andrew 
Heron of Kiroughtree. The son predeceased the father, and his 
widow m., secondly, James Lidderdale of St. Mary's Isle. Patrick 
and John, father and son, were fined for their Covenanting principles, 
forfeiting their estate in 1680, which came into the administration of 
the Duke of Queensberry. After the Revolution the estate was 
restored to John of Penninghame, great-great-grandson of Alexander 
V., and thus of the 9th generation. Of him follows. 

IX. John in Penninghame, had sasine of Larg and Palgown, 
2 June, 1691. He found the estate of Larg too encumbered to 
recover, and it passed to the Herons of Kiroughtree. He m. 
Elizabeth, dau. of Patrick Dunbar of Machermore (Galloway 
Charters), who on his death m., secondly, Andrew Heron of Bargaly. 
The issue of John's marriage was : — 

Alexr, of whom follows; Anthony of Glencaird, of whom after- 
wards as Xa; and Margaret, m. Patrick Heron, yr. of Heron, 
and had issue. 

X. Alexander, served heir to his father in 1699 and became 
M.P. for the Stewartry in 1/06. He m., first, an Helene, issue 


three : — John, of whom follows; James, Judge-Advocate for Scotland, 
no issue ; and Catherine, in. William Ramsay, M.D. Alexander m., 
secondly, Mrs. Christian Douglas, dau. of Sir James Dunbar of 
Mochrum, by whom he had a son Alexander. 

XI. John, succeeded his father to Palgown in 1752, and eleven 
years after sold it to John, Lord Garlies. He m. the Hon. Jane Ross, 
dau. of George, 12th Lord Ross, no issue. On his m. he took the 
name of Ross, and was afterwards known as John Ross-M'Kie. He 
was an advocate of the Scottish Bar, M.P. for the burgh of Lanark, 
1/41-6, and for the Stewartry 1747-68, paymaster for the Board of 
Ordnance, and afterwards receiver-general of Stamp Duties. He d. 
in London 1797- 

Xa. Anthony M'Kie of Glencaird, second son of John IX., m. 
Grizel Eccles, issue three : — William ; John ; and Agnes. He had 
also by another wife, Isobel M'Kie, a son John, of whom follows : — 

XIa. John, an extensive farmer along the water of Minoch, in 
1777 held 13,000 acres from the Earl of Cassilis and 1400 acres from 
Lord Galloway. He m., first, Margaret Machutcheon, by whom he 
had issue : — James, of whom follows ; and Mary. He m., secondly, 
Jane M'William, issue : — William ; and twins, John and Isobel. He 
d. in 1783. 

Xlla. James M'Kie, purchased the estate of Bargaly 10 May, 
1794, bought Craignell and Brochloch in 1801, and later on bought 
Drambuie. He m. Ann, dau. of William M'Caa, issue : — John, of 
whom follows ; and Elizabeth. 

Xllla. John of Bargaly, who d. 1858, M.P. for the Stewartry, m. 


Ann, dau. of Peter Lawrie of Ernespie, issue : — James, of whom 
follows ; Peter, d. at Melbourne in 1842 ; John, d. in the East Indies 
in 1846 ; and Ann, d. at Carlingwark in 1841. 

XlVa. James of Bargaly, who d. 1867, M.P. for the Stewartry 
1857-67, m. in 1853 Jane Wilson, only dau. of Archibald Home of 
Balvarran and Inverchroskie, Perth, issue nine : — 

John of whom follows ; Peter Lawrie, d. 8 July, 1896, m Annie, 
dau. of James Hamilton Kennedy (issue, Angela) ; James 
Archibald; William Murray, m. Mary, eldest dau. of John 
Fildes (issue, John) ; Annie Lawrie ; Agnes, m. John William 
Hutchison of Edingham and Lauriston Hall, with issue ; 
Margaret Preston, m. Andrew Johnston of Halleaths, with 
issue ; Eliza Nina, m. John Gladstone Mackie of Auchencaion ; 
and Ellen Stormonth, m. Charles L. Johnstone, with issue. 

XVa. Liect.-Col. John of Bargaly, J.P. and D.L. of the 
Stewartry, commanded the 3rd Bat. King's Own Scottish Borderers 
during the late South African War, and wears the D.S.O. for 
distinguished conduct in the field. 

That the families of Stratlmaver and Galloway were related 
through Martin of Stratlmaver was evidently accepted by Sir Robert 
Gordon, the northern historian. With Sir Donald Mackay of 
Stratlmaver, his nephew, Gordon was intimately acquainted, and 
very probably had a personal acquaintance with Sir Patrick Mackie 
of Larg, so that he very likely gathered information from both. The 
Blackcastle MS., which is based upon an older family genealogical 
account, also says that a Martin of Stratlmaver settled in Galloway, 
and we have already shown that he must have flourished c. 1260. 
Thus the Blk. MS. to some extent confirms Gordon. When Mackay 

**f € 



of Strathnaver raised his regiment in 1626, so abundant was the 
supply of recruits that the object was accomplished in a few weeks. 
In the circumstances he would naturally select his own friends as far 
as possible. But one of his captains was Sir Patrick Mackie from 
distant Galloway. When he could get plenty men nearer home why 
go so far afield ? May it not be that he looked upon Sir Patrick as a 
distant cousin ? 

That the argument from similarity of armorial bearings is a 
treacherous one goes without saying, but the similarity in this case is 
very striking. Both branches of the Galloway family carry the lion 
on their shield, which is also the emblem of the Aberach Mackays. 
In our account of the Aberach Mackay banner at pp. 269-85, we 
showed that the left hand with extended fingers was anciently 
inscribed upon the armorial shield of the Strathnaver Mackays. But 
in the gable of Glencaird House, an old M'Kie seat and now the 
property of Col. John M'Kie of Bargaly, may be seen a carved stone 
bearing the date 1694, the letters J. Mk., and A.H., two ravens, and 
also a left hand witli extended fingers exactly as found in Strathnaver. 1 
Thus like the Strathnaver men, the Galloway Mackays bore the 
sinister hand appaume as well as the lion. 

1. In the preparation of this account we have been generously assisted by Dr. Norman J. 
M'Kie, Newton Stewart, who has put at our disposal his own notes based upon a recent elaborate 
search of the Public Records. 


X. ^c Jlrgule anb 23csfent ^ilactutw 

The earliest reference to these Mackays which we have found is 
in a charter by King Robert Bruce, 31 Mar., 1329, confirming two 
shanmarcate of land in Kintyre to Gilchrist macYmar M'Cay and to 
Gilchrist his younger son in heritage, with remainder to Ymar his 
elder son and his heirs (Appendix No. I.). Various writers have 
concluded that this Kintyre family is the Clan Aid whose genealogy 
is given in the Advocate's Library MSS. of 1450. This conclusion 
may be correct, but if it be it serves to show how inaccurately the 
1450 MSS. recorded the genealogy of that family. Below we give 
the MS. List for some generations in the left hand column, and 
parallel to it the genealogy as recorded in the charter of the Bruce. 

Farquhar, son of 

Ivor, son of Ivor & Gilchrist, sons of 

Gilchrist, son of Gilchrist, son of 

Gillespie, son of Ivor, son of 

Gillananeamh, son of Aidh. 

Gilchrist, son of 

Cormac, son of 

Gillamichael, son of 


In the 1450 List the first three generations may be correctly 
recorded, but beyond that it does not seem to us of much if any 
value. Those who argue from this List that the Clan Aid had no 
connection with the Strathnavcr Clan Aoidh have very slender 
grounds to go upon. It is an undoubted historical fact that the 
MacEths were closely connected with Somerled of Argyle, that they 
fought together and intermarried. In the unsettlemcnt prevailing at 



the time it is quite likely that some of these fugitive MacEths settled 
in Argyle and the Western Isles, where they took root under the 
spreading shield of the house of Macdonald. And that Donald of 
Strathnaver should take a wife from the island of Grigha in the early 
years of the 14th century is some confirmation of this view. 

We have already shown at page 41 that M'Ge of the Rhins of 
Islay and Mackay in Mull served Angus Og Macdonald in an official 
capacity, early in the 14th century. On the 11th Aug., 1542, King 
James V. gave anew to Ivor M'Cay Mor the office of crowner of 
North Kintyre hereditarily, with the lands of Ugadale and Arnegill 
attached thereto "as these pertained to Ivor M'Cay Mor and his 
ancestors beyond the memory of man, held of the Lord of the Isles " 
(Ewir M'Cay more et ejus predecessoribus pertinuerunt ultra 
memoriam hominum, de insularum dominis tente). See the extract 
in our Appendix No. 16. On the 28th Sep., 1615, King James VI. 
gave anew to Donald M'Cay of Arnegill and his son Evir the office of 
crowner 1 of North Kintyre hereditarily, and the four merk-lands of 
Arnegill and Ugadale as these were given novodamus by King James 
V. to Donald's grandfather, Evir M'Kay-moir of Arnegill (Appendix 
No. 31).^ From these documents it appears that the Mackays held a 
very prominent position in Kintyre under the Lords of the Isles from 
an early period. Daniel Mackay was served heir to his father Evir, 
son of Donald, 20 Aug., 1662 (Chancery Record). 

"In 1G82 Catherine Mackay," says Blackcastle, "was served heir to 
her father Daniel in the lands of Ugadale, &o. She m. Torquil MacNeil 
of Tirfergus, Kintyre, and had a son Neil Macneil, who was served heir 
to his father Torquil, 21 March, 1729 (Chancery Record). This Neil of 
Ugadale m. the Hon. Margaret Crawford, eldest dau. of John, Viscount 
Garnock, and by her, who d. at Losset, Kintyre, 22 June, 1788, had a 
son Hector (Scots Mag.). The said Hector Macneal of Ugadale became a 
major in the Royal Marines and d. at Losset, 9 Dec., 1818, leaving a son 
George. George Macneal of Ugadale m. his cousin german, Miss Loring, 
1821, and had an heir Hector, b. 10th July, 1822." Captain Hector 
Macneal of Ugadale d. in 1905 leaving a son Captain Hector to succeed. 

1. What is now known as the Ugadale Brooch was the crowner's official brooch or brauie as 
it was called in Gaelic. 


In 1408 Brian Vicar Mackay obtained a charter of lands in Isla 
from Macdonald of the Isles {Appendix No. 4). In a minute of the 
Privy Council, 16 April, 1587, the name of "Neill Mcky, official' of 
of the Rynnis of Islay " appears among others. Again in the P. G. 
Beg., Vol. VII., 10 Feb., 1606, we find " Neil Mcky, crunair of the 
Ryndis of Illeay," and " Donald McCay, coronell of the Oo and 
Clergy." From this it appears that Mackay of the Rhins of Islay 
was crowner of the island about the beginning of the 17th century. 

On the 14th Aug., 1506, the following Mackays held lands of the 
king in Bute : Gilnew Mackaw, the half of the lands of Garachach ; 
John Mackaw, the other half; Patrick Makkcae, half of the lands of 
Dunguild; and John Makkay, the third part of the lands of Scalpsey 
and Ard-Scalpsey (Reg. Mag. Sig.). Mr. Mackay of Blackcastle 
referring to the Bute Mackays says : — 

" Several of this family spelt their name M'Kaw or M'Kau. Of this 
branch is said to be descended the present Barons de MacKau in France, 
one of whom was the Baron de Makau who represented Louis XV. at the 
Diet at Batisbon and signed the French king's declaration, 14 May 1757 
(Scots Mag.). His grandson, the Baron de Makau of the French Navy, 
sailed from Bochford, 4th May 1825, with an ordonance from Louis 
XVII. declaring the independence of St. Domingo (Moniteur, Aug. 12th; 
and Edinburgh Courant, 25th, 1825)." 

XL d>tt)ct" 35rcmc$e5 of ff)c £?amUo of ^Tacfcau. 

Clan Erchar or Vic Farquhar. The progenitor of this family 
was Farquhar, son of lye IV. of Strathnaver, and physician to King 
Robert II., as we have shown already in our Introductory chapter 
and in the memoir of his father. He had a gift from Alexr. Stewart, 
Lord of Badenoch, 1 of the lands of Melness and Hope, 4 Sep., 13/9, 
which the king confirmed by charter the same day {Appendix No. 2). 
On the 31st Dec, 1386, King Robert II. bestowed by charter on 
"our beloved and faithful Farquhar the leech" (dilccto et fideli 
nostra Ferchardo leche) the islands lying around the Strathnaver 

The fact that Sir Robert Gordon, who records from tradition, 
antedates Farquhar by about a century may indicate the comparative 
importance which tradition ascribed to this family in early times. 
As his father and elder brother were murdered at Dingwall in 13/0, 
and as his nephew Angus VI. of Strathnaver was not only left a 
minor but died a young man leaving a son Angus Du in boyhood, it 
may well be that Farquhar and his successor of Melness filled a 
foremost place among the Strathnaver Mackays towards the close of 
the 14th century. By the beginning of the 16th century, however, 
the family of Melness waned, for lye Roy of Strathnaver obtained the 

1. Alexander Stewart, Lord of Badenoch, Earl of Buchan, and afterwards Earl of Ross, was a 
son of Kins; Robert II. He quarrelled with the haughty and corrupt Church rulers of Moray, 
made a liberal application of the torch to some of their property, and came to be known at the 
hands of ecclesiastical writers as "The Wolf of Badenoch" in consquence. That he was ruthless 
in taking revenge goes without saying for that was the fashion of his time, but that he was so 
black as his name makes him does not follow. Romish writers are too prone to give evil names to 
those whom they do not love. As a case in point, King Victor Emmanuel of Italy is known at the 
Vatican as " The Wolf of .Savoy" (Dr. Robertson's Roman Catholic Churah in Italy p. 59), although 
a multitude of good Italians look upon him as the deliverer of their country. 



nonentry of these lands in 1504, and seven years afterwards purchased 
from Donald M'Corrochy, " as discendit fra Farquhar Leiche," all 
rights over Melness and Hope {Appendix Nos. 8 and 9). 

In 1G24 the 1st Lord Reay bought the remaining portion of the 
Melness estate, to wit, the Little Isles of Strathnaver, from William 
M'Callan, whose brother Angus M'Callan held the four pennylands of 
Strathmelness in wadset. Though in the early years of the 17th 
century the patronymic of the family was M'Callan the proper 
surname was Mackay, for a grandson of Angus, viz., "William 
Macwilliam MacAngus alias M'ky " had a Precept of dare constat 
as heir to his father in the wadset of Strathmelness, 23 April, 1686, 
as we show in the Genealogy of the Aberach Mackays at p. 248. 
The old house of Strathmelness lay about three miles north west of 
what is known in more modern times as Melness House. 

Polsox. According to Sir Robert Gordon, the Poisons or Siul 
Phail are descended of Paul, sou of Neil, son of Neil, son of Donald 
Y. of Strathnaver. Consequently the said Paul was a contemporary of 
ISTeil Vass VIII. of Strathnaver. In 1430 Paul's father Neil obtained 
by charter from King James I. the lands of Creiehmore and others in 
the parish of Creich, and the Great Seal Register shows that the 
family resided in these quarters for at least a century and a half after 
that date. 

Although Neil Neilson fell in battle fighting against the Mackays 
in 1433, yet during the subsequent scramble for the lands of Thomas 
Mackay of Creich between the Rosses and Mackays, the Poisons 
gravitated towards their Strathnaver kindred. Sir John Poison, 
presbyter and afterwards chanter of Caithness, acted for lye Roy X. 
of Strathnaver in 1497, in 1506, and in loll (Appendix Nos. 5, 6, 9). 
In document No. 5 of our Appendix he appears as Mackay's 
procurator. Again at the battle of Torran Du, as we showed already 
at pp. 82-3, the Poisons assisted the Mackays against the Murrays. 

In the Sutherland List of men capable of bearing arms in the '45 


a number of Poisons appear in the parishes of Loth and Kildonan, 
but the sept is not strong now numerically for some of them have 
adopted the name Macphail and others sign themselves Mackay. 

Achmonie Mackays. From early in the 16th century this 
family of Mackays held an important place in Glenurquhart, Inverness- 
shire. In 1539 John Mac Gillies Mackay witnessed a sasine of 
Comarmore, Strathglass, to Chisholm of Chisholm, and in 1554 
obtained a nineteen years' lease of Achmonie from the Bishop of 
Moray {Cart. Mm:). But John possessed Achmonie as early as 
1545, when he suffered in a raid by the Macdonalds on Glenurquhart. 
His father-in-law, Euen Canychd, in that year was one of the tenants 
of Balmacaan ; his own son Donald had a share of Balmacaan ; his 
brother Bean Mac Gillies was principal tenant of Cartaly ; and his 
nephew John Mac Donald Mac Gillies had a share of Inchbrinc. Thus 
in 1545 the family had the great bulk of the glen in their possession, 
till in 1557 the bishop granted a perpetual charter of Achmonie to 
John Mac Gillies Mackay and his heirs by Catherine, dau. of Euen 
Canychd (Cart Mor.). 

His great-grandson Gillies lost the lands of Achmonie c. 16/0 for 
slaying the laird of Grant's chamberlain at a rent collection feast in 
Glenurquhart, but John Mackay, son of Gillies, recovered the estate 
and got a written title in 1721. The said John was succeeded by his 
son Alexander who fought for Prince Charlie in the '45 and d. 
without male issue. To Alexander succeeded his brother Donald, 
who was also out in the '45 and who was in consequence transported 
to Barbadoes. Donald, however, managed to make his escape, 
returned to Scotland and married. The great-grandchildren of the 
said Donald Mackay are as follows : — Duncan Mackay, now in the 
Argentine Republic ; Charles, a bailie of Inverness ; John d. in 
Chicago ; Donald, d. in California ; William, a solicitor in Inverness ; 
Mary (Mrs. Neil Smith"* ; Elizabeth (Mrs. Alexander Forbes, 
deceased); Katherine (Mrs. William Macdonald) ; Ann, d. unmarried; 


and Caroline (Mrs. James Davidson, deceased). 

For further particulars the interested reader should consult 
Urquhart and Glenmoriston, by Wm, Mackay, solicitor, Inverness, 

Isox, Easox, and Esson. These are three different forms of the 
name Iyeson or Mackay. In Ison and Esson lye appears as a prefix 
while in Mackay it is a suffix ; and as in various old documents 
Mackenzie is represented by Kennochson, so naturally enough Mackay 
got twisted into Ison when the name was handled by some English 
speaking people. 

In the latter half of the 16th century reference is made in the 
Privy Council Register to Isons in and about Wick. For example, 
on 15th April, 1566, the Suthcrlands of Duff'us are reported to have 
burnt the house of Andrew Bain in East Clyth, and to have at the 
same time killed Alexander Ison and his two sons. According to Sir 
Robert Gordon, the Bains were a Caithness branch of the Mackays, 
and these Isons were probably their kinsmen. This name also 
appears in various other entries, and was generally borne by people 
about Wick, the English speaking part of Caithness. We are not 
aware that Ison is now used as a surname, but Eason or Esson is not 
uncommon along the southern shore of the Moray Firth. 

Mackie. Sir Donald of Strathnaver and his contemporary Sir 
Patrick of Larg signed themselves Mackie. The form Mackie was 
thus common to Strathnaver and Galloway, but probably the majority 
of those who bear the name now are descendants of the southern 

Mack. This form, found in Berwickshire and the neighbourhood, 
is supposed to be a docked form of Mackie. Just as in Sweden Mac 
Avas dropped and Key only retained, so in the south of Scotland the 
suffix ie, which has a diminutive significance there, appears to have 
been thrown away by some folks to secure the more robust form 


Mack. According to our interpretation, such a form could only 
appear in a purely English speaking part of the country ; and we 
have been in correspondence with some Macks who trace themselves 
back to Mackie as we have described. 




Jlppen&ias of documents. 

No. I. Excerpt Charter of Confirmation by King Robert 
Bruce to Gilchrist Macymar M'Cay and to his younger son Gilchrist 
in heritage, with remainder to Ymar his elder son and his heirs, of 
two shanmarcate of land in Kintyre for the service of two bowmen in 
the king's army, given at Maynreth, Galloway, 31 March, 1329 : — 

Robertus etc. Sciatis nos etc. confirmasse Gilchristi Macymar 
chabteks° n M'Cay pro homagio et seruitio suo duas shantnarcatas terre in 
Kentyr, viz., denariatam terre de Arydermeile, denariata terre de 
Ballostalfis, denariata terre de Kyllewan, et denariata terre 
Seskamousky, Tenend. et habend. eid. Gilchristi et Gilchrist filio suo 
minore et heredib. dicti Gilchrist de corpore suo legitime procreatis 
seu procreandis, et deficientib. illis heredib. Ymaro filio suo seniori et 
heredib. suis de corpore suo legitime procreatis seu procreandis de 
nobis heredibus nostris in feodo et hereditate per omnes rectas metas 
et divisas suas cu. omnimodis libitatib. moditatib. asiamentis et 
justis pei'tinentiis ad dictas terras spectantibus seu spectare valen. in 
futuru. quomodo faciendo inde servitiu duorum architenentiu in 
exercitu nostro. In cuius rei etc. Apud Maynreth in Galwida, 
vultimo die Marcii anno &c. vicesimo quarto. 

No. 2. Charter of Confirmation under the Great Seal by 
King Robert II. to Ferchard, the king's physician, of a gift of the 



lands of Melness and Hope by Alexander Stewart, the king's son, to 
the said Ferchard, 4 Sep., 13/9 : — 

eeay papers. Robertus Dei gratia rex Scotorum omnibus probis hominibus 
totius terre sue salutem. Sciatis nos approbasse ratificasse et hae 
presenti carta nostra confirmasse donationeni illam et concessioner)], 
quas dilectus filius noster Alexander Senescallus miles dominus de 
Badeuach fecit et concessit Ferchardo medico nostro de terris de 
Mellenes et duabus partibus del' Hope cum pertincntiis, Tenend. 
et habend. Ferchardo cum omnibus et singulis libertatibus 
commoditatibus aysiamentis et justis pertincutiis suis quibuscunque 
ad predictas terras cum pertinentiis spectantibus seu quomodo juste 
spectare valentibus in futurum adeo libre et quiete plenarie integre et 
honorifice in omnibus et per omnia sicut carta dicti filii nostri eidem 
medico exinde confect. in se plenius juste continet et proporat. In 
cuius rei testimonium presenti carte nostre confirmationis nostrum 
precepimus apponi sigillum testibus venerabillibus in Christo patribus 
Willielmo et Johanne, Cancellario nostro, ecclesiarum Sancti Andrae 
et Dunkelden. episcopis, Johanne primogenito nostro de Carrie 
senescallo Scotie, Roberto de Fyffe et dc Menteth filio nostro 
dilecto, Willielmo de Douglas, de Marr consanguineo 

nostro, comitibus , Apud Perthe quarto die mensis 

Septembri et anno regni nostri nono. 

No. 3. Chartek by King Robert II. to Ferchard the leech, of 
the Little Islands of Strathnaver, lying between the Rowe Stoir in 
Assint and Rowe Armadale, 31 Dec, 1386 : — 

eeay papers. Robertus Dei gratia rex Scotorum omnibus probis hominibus 
totius terre seu clericis et laycis salutem. Sciatis nos dedisse 
concessisse et hac presenti carta nostra confirmasse dilecto et fideli 


nostra Ferchardo leche pro suo servitio nobis facto et faciendo insulas 
de Jura, Calwa, Sanda, necnon et Elangawne, Elanewillighe, 
Elanerone, Elanehoga, Elaneqwhochra, Elaneegelye, Elanenyofo, et 
omnes insulas nostras jacentes inter Rowestorenastynghe et Rowe 
Armedale, infra vicecomitatum de Innys., Teneud. et habend. eidem 
Ferchardo et heredibus suis de nobis et heredibus nostris in feodo et 
hereditate per suas rectas nietas divisas cum omnibus et singulis 
libertatibus commoditatibus aysiamentis et justis pertinentiis 
quibuscunque ad easdem insulas pertinentibus seu pertinere 
valcntibus in futurum libre quiete plenarie iutegre et honorifice bene 
et in pace faciendo nobis et heredibus nostris dictus Ferchardo et 
heredes sui servitia antiquitus inde debita et consueta. In cuius rei 
testimonium presenti carte nostre nostrum precepimus apponi 
sigillum, testibus reverendissimo in Christo patre Waltero Dei gratia 
sedes apostolice cardinali, venerabili in Christo patre Joanne 
episcopo Dunkelden cancellario nostro, Joanne primogenito nostra 
de Carrie senescallo Scotie, Roberto de Fyfe et de Menteth, Jacobo 
de Douglas, filiis nostris dilectis, commitatibus ; Arcibaldo de Douglas 
et Thoma de Erskyne consanguineis nostris, niilitibus. Apud 
Edinburgh ultimo dei Dccembris, anno regni nostri sextodecimo. 

No. 4. Charter in Gaelic by Macdonald of the Isles to Brian 
Vicar Mackay, of lands in Isla, dated 1408. This Gaelic charter, the 
oldest extant in that language, was found in the possession of John 
Magee, county Antrim, a descendant of a family of Macgees who 
were once followers of the Macdonalds of Antrim. It is now 
preserved in the Register House, Edinburgh. A translation into 
English is appended : — 

An ainm De, amen. Ataimse, Mac Domhnaill, ag bronnagh 7 
tabhairt en mhairg deg go leith dfearann uaim pfhein agas om 


oighribh do Bhrian Bhicaire Mhagaodh agas da oigliribh na dhiaigh 

go siorthuighe suthain, ar son a sheirbhise damh pfein agas dom 

athair romham, agas so air cbunnrag agas air chongbioll go 

tteobhraidh se fein agas iadsan damhsa agas dom oighribh am 

dhiaigh go bliadhnamhail ceithre ba ionmharbhtha chum mo tliighe, 

agas a cas nach biadh na bath soin ar faghail bhcaradh an Brian 

huas agas oighriogh dhomhsa agas dom oighribh am dhiaigh da 

mharg agas da fhichit marg ar son na mbo cceadna huas. Agas ar 

na habharuibh cceadna ataimse dom cheanghal fein 7 ag ceanghal 

moighriogh utn dhiaigh go deiriogh an bheatha na fearainn soin, 

moille re dthoruibh mara agas tire, do sheasamh agas do chonghbhail 

don mbhriain bhiocaire Mhagaodh huas agas da oighribh go 

siorthuighe na dhiaigh mar an cceadna ; agas as iad so na fearainn 

thugas dho feiu agas da oighribh go brach, iadhon, Baile bhicare, 

Machaire, Learga riabhoige, Ciontragha, Graftol, Tocamol, Wgasgog, 

Da ghleann astol, Cracobus, Cornubus, agas Baile neaghtoin. Agas 

ionnas go mbiaidh brigh, neart, agas laidireacht ag an mbrontanas so 

bheirim uaim, ceanglam aris me fein agas moighriogh go siorthuighe 

fo counrag so do sheasaibh agas chonghbhail don mbhrian reimhraite 

agas do oighribh na dhiaigh go deiriogh an bheatha le cuir mo laimhe 

agas mo shcala sios an so a lathair na bfliiaghain so sios, agas an 

seiseamh la do mis na bealtuine, agas an bhliadhan so do bhreith 

Cliriosta, mile ceithre ced agas hocht. 










In the name of God, amen. I, Macdouald, am granting & giving 
eleven marks and a half of land from myself and from my heirs to 
Brian Vicar Mackay and to his heirs after him for evermore, for his 
service to me and to my father before me ; and this on covenant and 
on condition that he himself and they shall give to me and to my 
heirs after me, yearly, four cows fit for killing for my household, and 
should these cows not be forthcoming the above Brian and his heirs 
shall give to me and to my heirs after me two & forty merks instead 
of the foresaid cows. And for the said reasons I bind myself and I 
bind my heirs after me to the end of their lives these lands with their 
fruits of sea and land to maintain and to secure to the above Brian 
Vicar Mackay and to his heirs for ever after him in like manner ; and 
these are the lands given to him & to his heirs for ever after him, 
viz., Bailc Vicar, Machaire, Learga-riavach, Ciontragha, Graftol, 
Tocamol, Ugasgog, the two Glenastols, Cracobus, Cornubus, and 
Baile-nechton. And in order that there may be meaning, force, and 
strength in this grant which I make, I again bind myself and my 
heirs for ever under covenant this to uphold and to fulfil to the 
aforesaid Brian and to his heirs after him to the end of their lives by 
putting my hand and my seal down here in the presence of these 
witnesses below, on the sixth day of the mouth of Beltane and this 
year of the birth of Christ, one thousand four hundred and eight. 









No. 5. Charter by Donald of Isla, Lord of the Isles, to Angus 
of Strathnaver and to his elder son Neil by his wife Elizabeth, 
sister of the said Donald, of the lauds of Strathhalladale and 
Ferancostgrayg in fee and heritage, at Arcaig, 8 Oct., 1415. The 
charter was registered in the boots of the Lords of Council on 15 
Feb., 1506, but a notarial copy is preserved in the Reay Papers: — 

Comperit Sir Johne Polsouu, chanter of Cathness, servitor and 
actadom. con. procurator for Y Mcky, and gave in this charter underwritten and 
desyrit the samyn to be transumpt and copiit attently, of whilk the 
tenor follows : " Sciant presentes et futuri quod nos Donaldus de He, 
Dominus Insularum, dedimus concessimus et presenti carta nostra 
confirtnavimus nobili viro Angusio Eyg de Strathnawir et Nigello 
filio suo seuiori, inter ipsum et Elizabetam de Insulis sororem 
nostram procreato, et ipsius filii heredibus masculis de ejus corpore 
legitime procreandis ; Et si contingat dictum filium sine heredibus 
masculis de ejus corpore legitime procreandis de hac vita migrarc, 
alteri filio superviventi qui successive supervivere contingat de suis 
germanis fratribus et illius superviventibus filii heredibus masculis 
de ejus corpore legitime procreandis, Terras de Strathalgadill et 
ferancostgrayg habend. et tenend. per suas rectas metas et antiquas 
fines in hereditatem et feodem de nobis et heredibus nostris sibi et 
supradicto suo filio et illius filii heredibus masculis ex eius corpore 
legitime procreandis ; Reddendo inde nobis et heredibus nostris dictus 
Angusio et eius filius ut supradictum est et ipsius filii heredes 
masculi de eius corpore procreandi eorum homagium famyliaritatem 
et servitium contra omnes hujus vite mortales dolo et fraude remotis 
ut per ipsius Angusii patentes literas nobis inde factas plenius 
continetur solvendo etc. nobis et heredibus nostris prefatus Angusius 
et eius filii sen hei'edes predicti wardam et releviam quotiens fuerit 
debitum et solvi consuetum nos vero et heredes nostri predictas terras 
de Strathalgadil et ferancostgraygis concedimus dicto Angusio et 
heredibus suis supradictis in planis pasturis campis et nemoribus 


stagnis rivis aquis molendinis venationibus piscariis cum ceteris 
aliis emoluments et pertinentiis sicut melius plenius liberius et 
honorificentius certe in hereditate solvent dari seu Uteris confirmari. 
In cuius rei testimonium sigillum nostrum presentibus apponi fecimus. 
Data apuil insula Marcage [marginal note, " or in Arcaig "] octavo 
die mensis Octobris, anno Domini millesimo quadringentesimo quinto 
decimo hiis testibus, Lauchlano Makgillane et Roderico Makcloid 
cum diversis aliis." 

The quilk desyre the Lords understandand juste and cousonand 
to resone decerns and ordans the sade charter to be transumyt 
attently and to be put in public forme, and als meikille faith to be 
gevin to the sade transumpt as to the principal charter in judgment 
and outwith in all tymes to cum, notwithstanding the cancellation 
and revdn of the samyne reklessly and in the bak be evil disposit 
persons, because yat public mandate and summonition of all partiis 
hafand or traistant to have intress yairto to her. the samyn to be 
transumyt ordorly procedit as efterit. 

No. 6. Instrument upon a Precept granted by King James 
IV., upon Douglas of Pittendriech chamberlain of Moray, for paying 
to Y Mcky of Strathnaver £20 Scots per annum. The Precept is 
dated 18 July, 1496, and the Instrument 2 April, 1497 : — 

In Dei nomine, amen. Per hoc presens publicum instrumentum 
beay papers, cuuctis patcat evidentur quod anno incarnationis Dominice millesimo 
quadringentesimo nonagesimo septimo mensis die Aprilis die secundo, 
indictione decima quinta pontificatus sanctissimi in Christo patris ac 
domini nostri Alexandri, divina providentia pape, Sexti anno quinto 
In venerabilis viri magistri Jacobi Achlect commissarii vicarii 
o-eneralis Cathanen. ac precentoris eiusdem pro tribunali Seden. et 
testium infrascriptorum presentia personaliter consti tutus uobilis vir 


Odo M'Ky de Straithnauer quandam literam stipendii in pergamino 

scriptam sigillo priuato supremi Domini nostri Regis cera rubea albe 

impressa penden. sigilla. michi notario publico subscripto legi 

exemplari transumi extrahi banc in publicam formara transumpti 

redegi instanter. Requisitus sui transumptoque exinde confecto 

fideni in judicio et extra dari et concedi per prefatum dominum 

commissarium in ecclesia Cathedrali Cathanen. prefat. loco inferius 

assignat. pro tribunali Seden. ufc prefertur cum interpositione et 

appensione sigilli sui debita cum instantia postulabat Quamquidem 

literam sie in judicio productam sanam integram nou viciatam non 

cancellatam nee in aliqua seu parte suspectam sed omnibus prorsus 

vicio et suspicione caren. prefatus dominus commissarius per me 

notarium publicum infrascriptum perlegi fecit cujusquidem litere 

tenor sequitur et est talis. 

"James, be the grace of God king of Scottis, to our familiar 

squyar and servitor James Douglas of Pittendrich, our chamerlane of 

our lordship of Murray, and to all u there our chamerlanis of Murray 

that sail happin to be for the tyme, Greeting. Wit ye us for the gud 

and true service to be doin to us be our lowit squyar Y Mcky of 

Straithnauer to have gevin and grantit be yir our Ires, giffis and 

grantis til him the some of tventi pundis of usuale monze of our 

realme in his fee zearle and termelie to be pait to him and his 

factouris of the malis and profittis of our said lordschip, aye and 

quhill we provide ane leving and fee of land for the said Y Mcky 

in ane computent place lyand neir the boundis of Straithnauer. 

Quharfor we charge you, the said James our chamerlane and all 

vthers our chamerlanis forsaid that sail happin to be for the tyme, 

that ye in our name thankfulli content pay and deliver to the said Y 

Mcky or to his factouris in his naim the said some of XX lbs. at twa 

termes of the zer, Witsunday and Mertimes in winter, be evin 

portions of our saids malis of our lordschip of Murray enduring the 

tyme above writtin onder all pain and charge that efter may follow ; 

the quhilk some being pait be zou, as said is, we sail make the samvn 



be weill allowit to zou be zour comptis be the auditouris of our 
Chakker, and commandis and chargis thame to mak allowans to zou 
yairoff as efferis — Delivering yir our Ires, be zou sein and onderstand- 
ing againe to the said Y Mcky onder the charge forsaid. Gevin onder 
our previe seill at Edinburg the XVIII day of July, the zer of God 
ane thousand four hundreth ninti and sex zeirs, and of our king the 
nynt zer, per signaturum." 

Post cuisquidem litcre presentationem et lecturam prefatus 
dominus commissarius attendens. postulationem et requisitionem 
liujusraodi fore justas et rationi consonan. michi notario publico 
infrascripto prefatam literam transumere extraherc exemplificare et 
ad futuram rei memoriam in publicam formam transumpti servatis 
seruandis redigere expresse mandavit ne vetustate vel casu fortuito 
vigores suos ametteret unde innocens in defectu probationis suis 
juribus probarentur de testimonio veritatis appensioueni sui sigilli 
presenti transunipto concessit et appendi fecit ut in judicio et extra 
civilibus locorum sicut predicte litere originali plena fides temporibus 
futuris adhibeatur super quibus omnibus et singulis prefatus Odo 
Mcky a me notario publico subscripto sibi fieri petiit iimini vel plura 
publicum seu publica instrumentum seu instrumenta acta erant hec in 
loco concistoriali ecclessie Cathedralis Cathanen. prefat. hora quasi 
vndecima vel eo circa ante meridiem sub anno mense die indictione et 
pontificatu quibus supra presentibus ibidem venerabilibus et discretis 
viris, Magistro Waltero Fenton cancellario Brechanen. canonicoquc 
Cathanen., dominis Adamo Fern vicario penitentiario ecclesie 
Cathedralis prefat., Donaldo Swyne, Jacobo Wormet, Wilmo. 
Achlect, Roberto Fern, capellauis chori eiusdem ecclesie Cathedralis 
Cathanen., Wilhelmo Mcky et Johanne Kenachson, armigeris, 
testibus ad premissa vocatis pariter et rogatis. 

Et ego vero Johannes Poilsoune presbiter Cathanen. 
diocessios publicus sacris apostolica et imperiali autori- 
tatibus notarius quia premissis omnibus et singulis dum sic 
ut premittitur agerentur dicerentur et fierent unacum 

Reay Papers. 


prenominatis testibus presens personaliter interfui Eaque 
omnia et singula sic fieri et dici vidi scivi et audivi ac in 
notara cepi Ideo hoc presens publicum instrumentum manu 
mea propria scriptum exinde confeci publicavi et in banc 
formam pubilcam redegi signoque nomine cognomine et 
subscriptione meis solitis et domini preceutoris ac 
commissarii Cathauen. et de eius speciali mandato 
subscripsi requisitus et rogatus. 

Johes. Poilsoun, pbr 

No. 7. Charter under the Great Seal by King James IV. to 
Odo Mcky in Strathnaver, of the lands of Farr, Armadale, Strathy, 
Dilred, Cattack, Golspie, lands in Stroma, etc., formerly pertaining to 
Sutherland of Dirlcd executed for rebellion, but now given by the 
king to Mackay hereditarily for a red rose from the lands of Dilred 
on the feast of the nativity of the Baptist, should it be required, 
4 Nov., 1499 :— 

Jacobus Dei gratia rex Scotorum omnibus probis hominibus totius 
terrae suae cltricis et laicis Salutem. Sciatis nos pro bono fideli et 
gratuito servitio nobis per dilectum servitorem nostrum Odonen (alias 
Y) Makky in Straithnavern tarn tempore pacis quam guerre impenso 
et impendendo et signantur in captione et apportatioue nobis quondi 
Alexr. Sutherland de Dilrid et aliarum decern persouarum ejus 
complicium nostrorum rebellium et ad nostrum existen. dedisse 
concessisse et hac presenti carta nostra confirmasse dicto Odon. 
Makky et heredibus suis omnes et singulas terras subscriptas, viz., 
Terras de Fer, Armidill, Strae, Rynivee, Kynald, Gollespy, Dylrid, 
Cattak, Bronach, Kilchallumkill in Strabroray, Davach Lochnaver, 
Davach Erebull, et duas denariatas terrarum de Stromay, cum 
molendino de Kynald cum suis pertinen., jacen. in Caithness et 
Sutherland infra vicecomitatum nostrum de Inverness. Quaequideni 


terrae et molendinum cum suis pertinen. fuerunt dicti quond. Alexr. 
Sutherland hereditarie, et nunc nobis pertinent et in manibus nostris 
legitime devenerunt ratione forisfacturam per justificationem dicti 
quond. Alexr. Sutherland de proditoria traditione convicti, Tenend. et 
habend. omnes et singulas predictas terras de Fer, Armidill, Strae, 
Rynivee, Kynald, Gollesby, Delrid, Cattak, Bronach, Killchallumkill 
in Strabroray, Davach Lochnaver, Davach Erebull, et duas denariatas 
terrarum de Stromay, cum moleudino de Kyiiald cum suis pertinen. 
dicto Odoni alias Makky et hcredibus suis de nobis et successoribus 
nostris in feodo et hereditate in perpetuum per omnes rectas metas 
suas antiquas divisas prout jacent. in longitudine et latitudine, in 
boscis etc., Reddendo annuatim dictus Odo Makky et heredes sui 
nobis et successoribus nostris pro praedict. terris et molendino cum 
pertinen. unam rosam rubeam in festo nativitatis beati Joannis 
baptiste supra solum predictarum terrarum de Delrid nomine albae 
formae si petatur tan turn. In cuius rei testimonium presenti cartae 
nostrae magnum sigillum nostrum appcndi praecipimus, Testibus etc., 
apud Inverness quarto die mensis Novembris 1499, et rcgni nostri 

No. 8. Gift of Non-Entry by King James IV. to Y Mcky, of 
the lands of Strathnaver, Fermacostrig, Straithaliday, Creichmor, 
Assent, Laidroigith, Gruyddech davach [apparently the Laid of 
Rogart and the davach of Gruids], Edderachilis, the Little Isles of 
Strathnaver, and a part of Strathflete, dated 15 March, 1504, and 
entered in the books of the Lords of Council, 10 Feb., 150/: — 

Ac coi?° 51 ' James, be the grace of God king of Scottis, to all and sindri our 

officiaris liegis and subdittis quham it effercs quhais knawleg yir our 
Ires, sail cum Greeting. Wit ze us to have gevin and grantit and be 
yir our Ires, gevis and grantis to our lovit Y Mcky in Straithnaver 


and his airis for his glide treu and thankfull service done and to be 
done to ns, all nialis fermes and proffittis of all and hale the landis 
of Straithnavcr, Fermacostrig, Straithaliday, Creichnior, Assent, 
Laidroigith, Gruyddech davach, and Edderachilis, with the littil His 
of Straithnaver and Assent, togidder with ane part of the landis of 
Strath flete, being in his handis and possessiouu with yair pertinents 
for all the tyme yat yai hef bene in the handis of our predicessouris 
and ouris throw nonentre of the richtwiss airis yairto and of all 
termes to cum ay and quhill the richtwiss airis of the said landis be 
lauchfully enterit to the samyn and optene lauchfull state and sesing 
yairof, To be haldin and to be haid all and hale the said landis with 
the pertinentis being in our handis be resone forsaid with all malis 
and profittis yairof of all termes bygain and to cum, quhill the entre 
of the richtwis airis to the samyn, to the said Y Mckay and his airis 
with power to occupy the samyn with his awn guidis or to set them 
to tennentis as yai sail think most expedient, quhill the richtwiss air 
or airis of the said landis optene lauchfull state and sesen yairof, 
freilie quietlie wele and in pece bot ony revocatioun or agin callin of 
us or our successouris quhatsumever. Quhairfore we charge stratlie 
and commandis all and sindri our offieiaris leigis and subdittis forsaid 
yat nain of you tak apone hand to do ony thing incontrar thir our 
Ires, of gift maid to the said Y Mcky and his airis nor to mak him 
nor yaim na maner of wexation inquietation nor distrublans yairintill, 
bot yat he and yai may brouke and joiss the landis abone writtin in 
all thingis accordin to this our said gift for all the tyme forsaid under 
all the heist pane and charge yat efter may follow. Gevin under our 
privie sele at Edinburgh XV day of Marche, the zer of God JMVC 
and IIII zeris, and of our regime ye XYII zeire. 

No. 9. Procuratorx of Resignation by Donald McDonchy of 
Melness in favour of lye Mcky and his son John, of the lands of 


Melness, Mussel, Hope, and the salmon fishings of the water of Hope, 
dated at Invernaver, 30 Sep., 1511 : — 

In Dei nomine, amen. Per hoc presens publicum instrumentum 
cunctis pateat evidentur quod anno incarnationis Dominice millesimo 
eeay papers. qi U * n g e ntesimo undecimo mensis vero Septembris die ultima 
Indictione decima quinta Pontificatus sanctissimi in Christo patris ac 
domini nostri domini Julii divina providentia pape secundi anno 
septimo, In mei notarii publici subscripti et testium subscriptorum 
presentia personaliter constitutus providus vir, Donaldus McDonchy 1 
de Melliniss, non vi aut metu ductus nee errore lapsus sed mera et 
spontanea voluntate sua ac animo deliberato ut confessus est omnibus 
melioribus modo et forma via jure et causa quibus potuit fecit 
constituit creavit et solemniter ordinavit nobilem et potentem 
dominum Henricum Sinclair de eodem suum vcrum legittimum 
irrevocabilem et indubitatum procuratorem actorem factorem in 
quorum que suorum infrascriptorum gestorem ac nunciumspecialem 
unacum potestate substituendi unum vel plures procuratorum et 
procuratores qui in hujus modi negotio consimilem habeat et habeant 
potestatem ad resignand. et demittend. pure et simpliciter ac sponte 
et absolute in manibus serenissimi invictissimi domini nostri Jacobi, 
Dei gratia Scotorum regis illustrissimi, totas et integras terras suas 
viz., Melliness, Mossell, et Hoip, unacum aqua salmonum ejusdem 
ville de Hoip, tanquam in manibus domini superioris earundem etiam 
cum pcrtinen. necnon totum jus et clameum quod sibi competit et 
competere poterit in eisdem et ad conferend. denuo per prelibatum 
supremum dominum nostrum Regem dictas terras cum pertinentiis 
Odoni Mcky et eius filio Johanni hereditarie de se et heredibus suis 

1. On the back of the parchment in the handwriting of about 1600 there is written, "This is 
Donald our. [otherwise] MeCorrochy's letter of Procuratory as discendit fra Farquhar Leiehe, tx> 
resing all his lands of Stratnane. within writtin in our sourane lordis handis." 

A little lower in the handwriting of about 1670 this appears, "Proie. of resignan. be Donald 
McCourchie of the landis of Melnes, Hope, and salmon fishing thereof in favours of Eye Mckey 
and his son, 1511." 

In the body of the document Donald is said to have been a McDonchy, but in these two 
dockets he is described as McCorrichie. Evidently he was traditionally known as McCorriehie, 
i.e., the son of Murdo. 


imperpetuum pro quadam summa pecuniarum, videlicet, centum 
mercarum quani summam in auro et argento prefatus constituens 
fatebatur se recepisse de manibus dicti Odonis in bona solutione et 
gratuita pre manibus dcliberationem et hoc in warda et relivio uti 
idem constituens et sui antecessores easdem terras habucrunt et 
tenuerunt, Promissit etiam dictus constituens per sancta Dei evangelia 
juravit quod prefatum dominum Henricum Sinclare procuratorem 
suum vel substitutum vel substitutos ab eodem pro dicta resignatione 
facienda se nunquam revocare aut contradicere nee in ipsius 
contrarium publice vel oculte directe vel indirecte quovis quesito 
colore aliquali devenire sub omni pena In jure canonico aut civili 
conten. Ipso facto incurren. Et quotiens ipsum Henricum dominum 
Sinclar procuratorem suum aut ab eo substitutum vel substitutos 
revocare contigerit totiens de nono constituit et creat cum oninimoda 
irrevocabili potestate Promitten. Ratum et gratum rirmum atque 
stabile totum et quicquid prefatus dominus procurator aut substitutus 
vel substituti ab eodem duxit aut duxerint faciend. in premisses vel 
aliquorum premissorum sub ypotheca et obligatione suoruni bonorum 
omnium mobilium immobilium presentium et futurorum Super quibus 
omnibus et singulis prefatus Odo Mcky a me notario publico 
subscripto unum vel plura publicum seu publica sibi fieri petiit 
Instrumentum seu Instrumenta Acta erant hec, Apud Innanc. sub 
anno mense die indictione et pontificatu quibus supra, presentibus 
ibidem discretis viris dominis Maguo feid curato de Creich, Donaldo 
Red capellano, Johanne Kennaclison, Roberto Smyt, Johanne 
Malcomi heour McKennach, et Alexandra Mowet testibus ad 
premissa vocatis pariter et rogatis et hoc factum hora quasi octava 
ante meridiem vel eo circa ratificando hoc verbum interliniat. 

Et ego Johannes Poilsone clericus Cathanen. dioc. 
publicus sacris apostolica et imperiali autoritatibus notarius 
quia premissis omnibus et singulis dum sic ut premittitur 
agerentur dieerentur et fierent unacum prenominatis testibus 


presens personaliter interfui Eaque omnia et singula sic fieri 
et dici vidi scivi et audivi ac in notam cepi Ideo hoc 
presens publicum instrumentum manu mea propria scriptum 
exinde confeci publicavi efc in hanc formam publicam redegi 
signoque nomine cognomine et subscriptione meis solitis et 
consuetis signavi in fidem et testimonium omnium et 
singuloruin premissorum rogatus et requisitus. 

Eeay Papers. 

Joliannes Poilson, pbr. 

No. 10. Bond of Friendship between Adam Gordon, Earl of 
Sutherland, and lye Mckye, 31 July, 1517 :— 

This indeutor maid at Inverness, the last day of July the year of 
God 1517, betwixt ane nobile and my tie lord, Adam, erle of Suther- 
land on the ane pairt, and Y Mckye on the other pairt, in manner 
and form as after follows : That is to say, the said erle of Sutherland 
sal with his kin, freinds, tenants, and servants as well of property as 
tenantry, mak and keip the said Y Mckye, his tenants, his kin, 
freinds, and men, and all others depends on him unhurt, hermit, or 
skaithed in ony manner of way, other than law will, by them or onie 
depends on the said earle of Sutherland, frae this day forth be word 
or deed ; also the said Y Mckye sal keep the said earle of Sutherland 
his overlord, and his free tenants as weil of tenantry as property, 
unhurt or skaithed be him or onie depending on him be onie way, 
other than law will, frae this day forward, and for the lands he had 
of the said erle of Sutherland in property, the said Y Mckye sal frae 
Whitsunday furth discharge him thairot or apprys the said earle 
therefor. And this indentures to endure for all the days of their lyfe, 
and failand, as God forbid, that ather of the said parties brek the 
other in ony point above written, in that case the party breaking 
bynds and obleiss him, his airis, exers., and assignies to that party 
keipand, his airs, exers., or assignies in the sum of ane thousand 

Blk. MS. 


merits usual money for hurts, skaiths, damages, and expenses maid 
and sustentit be the party keipand ; and therefor binds and oblisses 
them be all their gudes, movable, unmavable, present, and for to cum. 
In faith and witness whereof the said pairties have sworn their great 
aith, and interchangabile subscribit this writ with their hands, yeir, 
day, and place foresaid, before thir witnesses, William Keyth of 
Inverugie, Alexander Irving of Drum, Alexander Irving, Maister 
Robert Monnorgyn, Sir John Auchlek, with utheris dyverse. 

No. 11. Bond of Friendship between Adam, Earl of Suther- 
land, and John Mcky of Strathnaver, 16 Aug., 1518 1 : — 

Thir indentouris maid at Abbirsco, the XVI day of August in the 
zeir of God JMVC & XVIII zeirs, proportis and beris witnes in this 
said indentouris that it is aggreet and fully accordit betwixt ane noble 
and mychty lord, Adam Gordone, Erll of Sutherland, on the tayue 
pairt, and ane honorabill man callit Johnne McKy of Strathnaver on 
the tother pairt, in forme and effect as efter follois : That is to say, 
the said Johnne Mcky is bundin and oblist be the faith and trewth in 
his body, the grit aith sworne, the Holy Ewangelist tuitchit, to fulfill 
thir punctis that efter follois, that is to say, I, the said Johnne McKy, 
is cumyne man and servand, with my friends, kynnismen, servands, 
and allies, and all uthers that will tak my pairt, to be leill and trew 
and afald to the said lord for all the dais of my lyf, the kyngis guid 
grace exceptit, the Governour [Regent], and my lord of Huntlie ; and 
sal be ryde with kynnismen and friends and all uthers that will tak 
my pairt to be ryde and mak service with all my powar, as said is, to 
help, defend, and suppli the said lord in all manner of thingis quhen 
ever I, the said Johnne, is chargit or may get wit be the said lord or 

1. No. 10 sealed a compact between the houses of Mackay and Sutherland the previous year, 
hut meantime John Mackay of Strathnaver had succeeded his deceased father lye, and by No. 11. 
takes up a similar friendly attitude towards his overlord for the specified lands which he holds 
within the earldom of Sutherland. 



his servands. And gif ony man cummis in oui pairt pretendand to 
invaid or do skaith to the said lord, men, servands, or landis, and also 
gif Alexander Sutherland cummis in oni pairfc pertenand to the said 
Johnne, or in oni uther pairtis neir the bundis of Sutherland, or in 
Suthyrland, or oni uther man quhat sumevir he be, that I, the said 
Johnne, sal do my diligence and powar and tak the said Alexander 
Suthyrland or oni uther that takis his pairt, and sail bryng thair 
personis to the said lord so that the said lord sail defend me afor the 
kyng and the lordis, gif I the said Johnne beis callit thairfor, as law 
will ; and it sail be na tynsell nur forfalting to the said Johnue of the 
landis that the said Johnne has in his feu, that is to say, the VII 
davachs in the hycht of Straithflet, that is to say, the lands of Larg, 
Schennis, Moy, Ryne, and Cragy ; and alsua gif the said Johnne 
failzies in oni punctis befor expremit, that the said Johnne sail forfalt 
and tyne the said lands of Larg, Schennis, Moy, Rynne and Cragy. 

And alsua the said lord byndis and oblissis me be the faith and 
trewth in my body, the gret aith sworne, to be ane guid lord and 
maister to the said Johnne McKy, kynnsmen, and freinds for all the 
dais of my lyf, that I, the said Adam, erle of Suthyrland, sal be leyl 
and trew, and all uthers that will tak my pairt sail defend and 
manteine the said Johnne McKy, kynnismen, and freinds agains all 
men that will tak his contrar pairt, the kyngis guid grace exceptit, 
the Governour, and the erll of Cathnes the quhilk lies my band ; and 
I the said lord sail gif to the said Johnne McKy the VII dawchis 
befor wryttin for his guid service to be doyne to me, the said erll of 
Suthyrland, for fulfilling of the punctis above writtin ; and I, the said 
Adam, erll of Suthyrland, sail nocht reset nor yet agre with Johnne 
Murray, na yet his kynnismen, without consent and awyse of the said 
Johnne McKy, and in likwyse the said Johnne Mcky sail not agre 
with the said Johnne of Murray, na nane of his kynnismen, without 
consent and awyse of the said lord. And gif sa happinis that the said 
lord or the said Johnne McKy failzies or breikis in thir punctis befor 
writtin, that the pairty failzeand or breakand sail pay to the pairte 


keipand the sowme of ane thousand merkis usual money of Scotland, 
that is to say, the ane third to the kyng, ane third to the kirk, and 
ane third to the pairte ; and gif it beis that thir indentouris be nocht 
sufficient in themselves, that it sail be lesum to the said Adam, erll of 
Suthyrland, and to the said Johnne McKy to reforme thir wrytenis 
quhil they be sufficient. And for the mair securitic I, the said 
Johnne McKy, lies procurat the seill of ane honorabill man, the lard 
of Skelbo, and lies affixit to this present writ with my subscriptione 
manual], day, and place abovewrittin, befor thir witnes, William 
Bailze of Ardnele, William Gordone son and apparand ayr to James 
Gordone of the Cawbrach, Angus McKy, Donald Bane, Angus 
Kennochtsoune, Sir Laurence Smyth, Henry Suthyrland, with utheris 
diverse and syndry. 

No. 12. Bond of Friendship between John Mackay of Stratli- 
naver and Alexander, Master of Sutherland, by which the former, of 
his own free will, became bound to bear himself towards the said 
Master as he had promised to do towards his father, Earl Adam, 
confirming the same by touching the Gospels and the relics of Saint 
Gilbert, within the cathedral church at Dornoch, 6 July, 1522: — 

keay papers. Curia tenta in ecclesia cathedrali Cathanensi per discretion virum, 
dominum Robertum McRaith, vicarium de Kilmaly, commissarium 
substitutum ejusdem etc., sexto Julii anno Domini millesimo 
quingentesimo XXII. 

Eodem die honestus vir, Johannes McKy de Straithnavir, ex sua 
propria confessione et spontanea voluntate, sacris Dei evangelis et almi 
Gilberti reliquiis per ipsum tactis, stricte se obligavit, magno 
interveniente juramento, adhibere prestare ac realiter et cum effectu 
facere tale homagium, servicium et humilitatem honorabili viro, 
Alexandra Gordone, Magistro Suthcrlandie, in futurum quale et etiam 

Elk. MS. 


simile id et totum ipse Johannes proraisit et se obligavit facere nobili 
et potente domino, Ade, comiti ejusdem, secundem tenorem, vim et 
effectum cujnsdam contractus inter dictos comitem ex una et 
Johannem McKy ex altera initi et facti ; et ad perimplendum 
huismodi contractnm in omnibus suis punctis et articulis dicto 
Magistro Snthcrlandie secundum tenorem ejusdem ipse Johannes ex 
sua propria confessione sub pena excommunicationis monitus fuisset. 
Pariformiter dictus Magister Sutherlandie fideliter promisit defendere, 
protegere et manutenere dictum Johannem McKy modo in forma 
quibus dictus comes obligatus fuit secundum tenorem et effectum 
dicti contractus etc., presentibus ibidem dominis Thoma Murray, 
cantore Cathanensi etc. 1 

No. 13. Charter under the Great Seal by King James V. to 
Donald McKy in Strathnaver, of the lands of Strathnaver, lands in 
Sutherland, Caithness, and Orkney, which pertained to his father lye 
McKy, but which fell into the king's hands by reason of nonentry, 
these lands being now formed into the barony of Farr, Mackay 
promising to give suit and presence yearly at three courts in Inverness, 
dated 16 Dec, 1539 :— 

Jacobus Dei gratia rex Scotorum, omnibus probis hominibus 
totius terrae suae, clericis et laicis, Salutem. Sciatis quia nos clare 
pcrpenden. et intelligen. quod quondam Odonus McKy, alias Y 
Mcky, pater predilecti nostri Doualdi McKy in Strathnaverne, ejusque 
predecessores, in omnibus singulis terris subscripts, viz., Terris de Fer, 
Armidill, Straye, Rynevie, Kynnald, Golesby, Dilrid, Cattack, Bronich, 

1. Shortly before this Earl Adam Gordon had resigned the lands of the earldom of Sutherland 
in favour of his elder son, the Master of Sutherland, and the latter now as head of the house 
practically by this document renews his father's compact with Mackay of Strathnaver. 

The copy of this deed lying at Dunrobin Castle is docketed as follows: — "Indorsed: Ane act 
quhar McKy gaif his aith to Alexander, erle of Suthirland, to do all things that he was oblist till 
do to Adam, erle of Suthirland." See Sutherland Book, Vol. III. 


Kilchalumkill in Strabroray, Davach Lochnaver, Davoch Erebull, et 
duabus denariatis terrarum de Stromay, et molendino de Kynnald, 
insula de Sanday extenden. ad tres denariatas terrarum, Melliness, et 
Hope, cum molendinis terris, molendinariis, multuris, aquis piscariis 
earundem pertinen., jacen. infra vicecomitatum nostrum de Inverness, 
per quondam nobilissimos progenitores nostros, quorum animabus 
propitietur Deus, hereditarie infeodate extiterunt, et quae terrae 
supraseriptae nunc nostris in manibus per nonintroitum, forisfacturam, 
bastardiam, escheatam, recognitioncm, purpresturam, diselamationem, 
aut ullam aliam causam quamcunque preteritam vacant, remitten. et 
exoueran. easdem pro nobis et nostris successoribus dicto Donaldo, 
heredibus suis, et assignatis, ac jura earuud. in ipsos pro perpetuo 
transferen., dedimus igitur et concedimus prefato Donaldo hereditarie, 
heredibus suis, et assignatis, omues et singulas prenominatas terras de 
Fer, Armidill, Straye, Ryneve, Kynnald, Golesby, Dilrid, Cattack, 
Bronych, Kilchalumkill in Strabroray, Davach Lochnaver, Davach 
Erebull, et duas denariatas terrarum de Stromay, molendinum de 
Kynnald, insulam de Sanday, et insulam de Hoga extenden. ut 
premissum est, Millness, et Hope, cum molendinis terris, molendinariis, 
multuris, aquis piscariis et earund. pertinen., jacen. infra vicecomitatum 
nostrum antedictum, ac etiam presentis carte nostre tenore damns, 
concedimus, disponimus, et coufirmavimus prefato Donaldo, heredibus 
suis, et assignatis, orane jus titulam interesse et juris clamem tarn 
petitorum quam possessiorium qnae et quam nos nostri predecessores 
aut successores habuerunt, habuimus, habcmus seu quovis modo 
habere vel clamare poterimus vel poterunt in et ad prefatas terras efc 
insulas, aut aliquam quarum partem firmas proficud et divoria earund. 
ratione heredum non introitus recognitionis, eschaetae, forisfacturae, 
bastardiae, purpresturae. disclamationis, seu ullo alio juris titulo ob 
quascunque actiones preteritas remitten. et exoneran. easdem, pro 
nobis et nostris successoribus prefato Donaldo, heredibus suis, et 
assignatis, ac ipsarum jura in ipso pro perpetuo transferen. et uuncip. 
placitum actionem nee questionem contra ipsos in futurum ab ea 


raonebimus cum omnium defectorum, tarn non nominatorum quam 
nominatorum quos pro expressis in hac presenti carta nostra habere 
volumus supplemento Insuper pro causis suprascriptis et aliis causis 
et considerationibus rationabilibus nos ad hoc moven. unimus, 
anneccimus, creamus, erigimus, et intemporamus omnes et singulas 
prefatas terras de Fer, Armidill, Straye, Rynevie, Kynnald, Golesby, 
Dilrid, Cattack, Bronich, Killchallumkill in Strabroray, Davach 
Lochnaver, Davach Erebull, duas denariatas terrarum de Stromay, 
molendinum de Kynnald, insulam de Sanday, insulam de Hoga nt 
premissum est extenden. , Milliness, et Hope, cum molendiuis 

terris, molendinariis, multuris, aquis piscationibus et ipsarum pertinen., 
maneriebus, terris, dominicalibus, nemoribus, toftis, croftis, cotagiis, 
partibus, pendiculis, lie outsettis, annexis, et ipsarum connexis, cum 
omnibus suis pertinen., in unam integram et liberam baroniam omni 
tempore a futuro baroniam de Fer nuncupand., ac volumus quod unica 
sasina nunc per prefatum Donaldum et omni tempore affuturo per ejus 
heredes et assignatos apud capitale messuagium, sive totum 
predictarum terrarum de Fer sumenda stabit et sufficiens erit sasina 
pro omnibus et singulis suprascriptis terris et insulis fuisset non 
obstante quod prefatae terrae non jacent contigue. 

Tenendas et habendas omnes et singulas prefatas terras de Fer, &c, 
prefato Donaldo McKy heredibus suis assignatis de nobis et nostris 
successoribus, in feodo et hereditate ac libera baronia in perpetuum 
per omnes rectas metas &c. Reddendo inde annuatim prefatus 
Donaldus heredes sui et assignati nobis et nostris successoribus tres 
sectas ad tria placita capitalia sive curias vicecomitatus nostri de 
Inverness, cum wardie, releviis, et heredum maritagiis quum 
contigerint tan turn. In cujus rei testimonium huic presenti cartae 
nostrae magnum sigillum nostrum appen. precepimus, testibus &c. 
Apud Striveling decimo sexto die mensis Decembris, anno Domini 
millesimo quingentesimo tricesimo nono, et regno nostri vicesimo 

Eeav Papers. 


No. 14. Sasixe upon the charter preceding to Donald McKy, of 
the lands of Strathnaver, lands in Sutherland, Caithness, and Orkney, 
taken at the principal messuage of Farr, before the witnesses William 
Sinclair rector of Olrick, David Sinclair, Hugh Kenzosoun de Lyth, 
Donald de Milcomie, and Lord Donald of William (sic), 16 Feb., 
1540 :— 

In Dei nomine, amen. Per hoc presens publicum instrumentum 
cunctis pateat evidentur, quod anno Dominici incarnationis millesimo 
quingentesimo trigesimo nouo, mensis vero Februarii die decimo 
sexto, indictione decima tertia, pontificatus sanctissimi in Christi 
patris et domini nostri, domini Pauli, divina providentia pape, Tertii, 
anno septimo : In mei notarii publici et testium subscriptorum 
presentiis personaliter constitutus honorabilis vir, Donaldus McKy, 
super capitali messuagio tcrrarum de Fare, jacen. infra vicecomitatum 
de Inverness, et ibidem commissionem vicccomitatus serenessimi 
domini nostri regis Jacobi Quiuti, de data apud Striveling, die decimo 
sexto mensis Decembris, anno Domini millesimo quingentesimo 
trigesimo nono, et sui regni anno vicesimo septimo, sub testimonio sui 
magni sigilli direct, honorabilibus viris vicecomiti et ballivis de 
Inverness, et Willielmo Davidsoune, portionario de Stanestell et Keis, 
cum ilia clausula conjunctim et divisim etc. dicto Willielmo 
presentavit. Quiaquidem Willielmus eandem qua decuit reverentia 
ad maims recepit et michi notario publico subscripto eandem et 
perlegendam tradidit cuius tenor sequitur, et est talis Jacobus Dei 
gratia rex Scotorum vicecomiti et ballivis suis de Inverness, necnon 
dilecto nostro Willielmo Davidsoune, portionario de Staynestaill et 
Keis, ac eorundem cuilibet conjunctim et divisim vicecomitibus nostris 
de Inverness in hac parte, Salutem. Quid dedimus et concessimns 
dilecto nostro Donaldo McKy in Stranavern, heredibus suis et 
assignatis, omnes et singulas terras subscriptas viz., terras de Fare, 
Armidaill, Strauchte, Rynew, Kynnald, Golspy-tour, Dilrit, Cattaucht, 
Broynocht, Killecallumkill in Strathbroray, Davach Lochnaver, 


Davach Ereboll, et duas denariatas terrarum de Stromay, 
molendinum de Kynnald, insulam de Sanday extenden. ad tres 
denariatas terrarum, et insulam de Hoga extenden. ad duas denariatas 
terrarum, Milliness et Hoipe, cum moleudinis terris, molendinariis, 
multuris, aquis piscariis et earum pertinen., jacen. infra vicecomitatum 
nostrum de Inverness : In quibus omnibus singulis terris suprascriptis 
quondam Odonus McKy, alias Y McKy, pater prefati Donaldi McKy, 
eiusque predecessores per quondam nobillisimos predecessores nostros, 
quorum animabus propitietur Deus, hereditarie infeodati extiterunt ; 
et quod terre suprascripte, nunc nostris in manibus per nonintroitum, 
forisfacturam, bastardiam, escheatam, recognitionem, purpresturam, 
disclamationem, aut ullam causam quamcunque preteritam vacant 
remitten. et exoneran. easdem pro nobis et successoribus nostris dicto 
Donaldo et suis heredibus et assignatis ac jura earundem in ipsos pro 
perpetuo transferen. Insuper pro causis suprascriptis et aliis causis et 
considerationibus rationabilibus nos ad hoc moven., unimus, 
anneximus, creamus, ereximus, et incorporamus omnes et singulas 
terras prefatas de Fare, Armidaill, &c. &c. cum moleudinis terris, 
molendinariis, multuris, aquis piscariis et earum pertinen., maneriebus 
terris, dominicalibus, nemoribus, toftis, croftis, cotagiis, partibus 
pendiculis, lie outsettis, annexis, et ipsarum connexis, cum omnibus 
suis pertinen., in unam integram et liberam baroniam onini tempori 
affuturo, Baroniam de Fare nuncupandum. Ac volumus quod unica 
sasina nunc per prefatum Donaldum et omni tempore affuturo per 
eius heredes et assignatos apud capitale messuagium sive locum 
predict, terrarum de Fare stabit et suffieiens erit sasina pro omnibus 
et singulis suprascriptis terris et insulis cum suis pertinen., siinili modo 
ac si unica specialis seu particularis sasina apud quamlibet ipsarum 
partem et locum suscepta fuisset non obstan. quod prefate terre non 
jacent invicem contigue prout in carta nostra desuper confecta plenius 
continetur, vobis precipimus et mandamus quatenus prefato Donaldo 
vel suo certo actornato latori presentium sasinam predictarum 
terrarum, cum moleudinis terris, molendinariis, multuris, aquis 


piscariis, nemoribus, terris, dominicalibus, maneriebus, toftis, croftis, 
cotagiis, partibus, pendiculis, lie outsettis, annexis, et ipsarum 
connexis et omnibus suis pertincn. secundem tenorem diet, nostre 
carte quam de nobis inde habet juste haberi faciatis et sine dilatione 
et hoc nullo raodo omittatis. Ad quod faciendum vobis et vestrum 
cuilibet conjunctim et divisim vicecoinitatibus nostris in hac de 
Inverness, committimus potestateni datum sub testimonio nostri magni 
sigilli apud Striveling, die decimo sexto mensis Decembris, anno 
Domini millesimo quingentesimo trigesimo nono, et regni nostri 
vigesimo septimo. Post cuiusquidem commissionis lectionem et 
eandeni in se acceptationem dictus Willielmus in hac parte vicecomes 
sasinam hereditariam suprascriptarum terrarum cum pertinen. in dicto 
commissione et precepto contentarum secundum vim formam et 
effectum diet, commissionis et prccepti dicto Donaldo per terre et 
lapidis traditionem ut moris est contulit et donavit, ac eundem in 
eisdem investivit super quibus omnibus et singulis dictus Donaldus a 
me notario subscripto sibi fieri petiit instrumentum ac instrumenta 
acta erant hec super capitale messuagium terrarum de Fare, hora 
undecima ante meridiem aut eo circa, sub anno, die, mense, indictione, 
et pontificatu quibus supra, presentibus ibidem venerabili viro 
Magistro AVillielmo Sinclaire, rector de Olrick commissarioque 
Cathanen., honorabili viro David Sinclaire, Hugone Kenzo-soune de 
Lyth, Donaldo de Milcomie, et domino Donaldo Willielmi, testibus 
ad premissa vocatis pariter et rcgatis. 

Et ego vero Johanne Symsoun presbyter Sancte Andree 
diocessis publicus sacra auctoritate apostolica notarius, 
quia etc. etc. 

No. 15. Excerpt Liferent Charter under the Great Seal to 
Helen Sinclair, spouse of Donald Mcky of Farr, of the lands of 
Balnaheglis, Golval, Strathy, Armadale, Renovy, Melness, Dilret, 



Cattack, and Broinach, with the Water of Farr from the big ford to 
the sea, the Water of Hallodale from Bighouse to the sea, the Water 
of Strathy, and the Water of Hope from the loch to the sea, 22 Feb., 
1545 :— 

Maria Dei gratia regina Scotorum etc. Sciatis nos etc., dedisse 
beg. mag. sig. ^^ delecte nostre Helene Sinclare, sponse Donaldi McKy de Far, in 
vitali redditu pro omnibus sue vite diebus tantum terris de Balneglis 
cum molendino multuris et pertinentiis eiusdem, Gallowall cum 
molendino multuris et pertinen. suis, Stray cum molendino multuris efc 
pertinen. ejusdem, Armidaill cum molendino multuris et pertinen. 
ejusdem, Ranowy cum molendino multuris et pertinen. ejusdem, 
Melness cum molendino multuris et pertinen. ejusdem, Dilbart 
Cattock et Broynocht cum molendinis multuris et pertinen. earundem, 
aquam de Far a lato vado ad mare usque cum piscatione salmonum 
solita et consueta, aquam de Hallodale a lie Beghouse ad mare usque 
cum piscatione salmonum solita et consueta, aquam de Straye cum 
piscatione salmonum ejusdem solita et consueta, ac etiam aquam de 
Hoip a lacu ad mare usque cum piscatione salmonum ejusdem solita 
et consueta, jacen. infra vicecomitatum nostrum de Inverness etc. 
Apud Edinburgh vigesimo secuudo die mensis Februarii, anno Domini 
millesimo quingentesimo quadragesimo quinto, et regni nostri quarto. 

No. 16. Excerpt Charter Novodamus under the Great Seal by 
the king to Ewir McCay Mor, of the office of crowner of North- 
Kintyre, held of the lords of the Isles from time immemorial, and of 
the lands of Arnigill and Ugadale pertaining thereto, the old charters 
having been burnt and lost during a war in that province, dated 11 
Aug., 1542 :— 

Rex : cum clare constaret quod coronatoris officium insule efc 
reg. Mag. sig. j; m jt um c j e North-Kintyre, et 4 marcate terrarum de Armigill et 

Blk. M.S. 


Ughedall in myd-Kintyre ad diet, officium spectantes, vie. Tarbet, 
Ewir McCay Mor et ejus predecessoribus pertinuerunt ultra memoriam 
bominum, de insularum dominis teiite, et quod eorum veteres carte 
per guerram et perturbatioues in ilia provincia amisse, combuste et 
destructe extiterunt — de novo dedit dicto Ewir et ejus heredibus pro 
eorum bono servitio impenso et impendento — diet, officium et terras 

Proviso quod dictus Ewir et heredes essent regi fideles ; 

et si in hoc defecissent, hoc notorio cognito aut sufficienter probato 
suam heredem amitterent etc. etc. 

No. 17. Substance of Letter of Obligation by Donald McKy 
of Strathnaver to Thomas Scott of Pitgormo, justice-clerk, dated and 
sealed at Tongue 20 July, 1538:— Donald McKy of Strathnaver to 
Thomas Scott of Pitgormo, justice-clerk, whereby the said Donald, 
conform to the law of Scotland by which landlords were made 
answerable for their tenants and followers, became bound to produce 
on fifteen days' notice ten persons therein named, viz., Keanzoch 
Farquhardson, R. Petersoun, John Angusson and his brother Rory 
Angusson, Patrick Farquharson, R. Petersoun, Thomas WUliamsoun 
and his brothers John and Gavin Williamsoun, and Rory Jameson, 
before the Lords Justice at Inverness, for alleged reset and 
intercommuniug with Donald and William Galdochson, rebels, 
accused of the slaughter of umquhill Donald Henryson and others. 

Elk. M.S. 

No. 18. Substance of Letter of Obligation by Donald McKy 
of Strathnaver to Thomas Scott of Pitgormo, dated at Thurso 26 
July, 1538 : — Donald McKy of Strathnaver to Thomas Scott of 
Pitgormo, justice-clerk, by which the said Donald bound himself to 




produce thirty-one persons therein named, to answer before the Lords 
Justice the third day of the then next justice-air at Inverness, for 
resetting Donald and William Galdauchson accused of the slaughter 
of Donald Heuryson and others. 

No. 19. Substance of Charter 1 by Andrew, Bishop of Caithness, 
to Donald McKy of Strathnaver and to his heirs male, of the lands 
and barony of Ardurness comprehending the lands of Galdwall, 
Kauldoull, Craniga, Baroul, Slains, Alslanmoir, Alslanbeg, Sandwatt, 
Island Hoa, and others therein mentioned, with their pertinents, and 
with the fishings of the Water of Farr, dated at Dornoch 7 July, 1540. 

No. 20. Gift by King James V. under the Privy Seal to Donald 
McKy of Farr, of the personal estate of certain persons escheated for 
absence from the muster at Lauder, 28 Nov., 1542: — 

Ane letre maid to Donald McKv of Far, his airis and assignais 
Privy Seal . . 

R £G - ane or ma, of ye gift of all gudis movable and immovable, dettis, 

takis, stedingis, obligaciounis, sonnies of money and utheris 

quhatsumevir, quhilkis pertenit to Kenzioth McKennyth McFarsoun, 

Donald Henrysoun, Agnes (sic) Henrysone, Fynlay Clerk, Caudicht 

McAndroye, Thomas Johnson, Johnne Galioch, and now pertaining or 

ony wiss sal happin or may pcrtene to our souerane lord, be ressone of 

escheat throw thair being absent and remanying fra our souerane 

lordis oist and army convenit and gadderit at Lauder, incontrare the 

tennour of his hienes letres, proclamacionis, and chargeis maid 

1. The charter is witnessed by " John Poilsoune of Creich, Thomas T>nnnet and Walter Groat, 
vicars of I)unnet and Cannisbey, Jolin Symsoune and David Setonn, chaplains and notaries 

Eeay Papers. 


thairapon, with power etc. At Edinburgh the XXVIII day of Nov., 
the zeir of God ane thousand fyve hundreth fourty and twa zeirs. 

Per signaturam. 

No. 21. Notarial copy of Boxd of Friendship between George, 
Earl of Caithness, John, Earl of Sutherland, Donald Mcky of Farr, 
and Bishop Robert of Caithness, 28 April, 1549 : — 

At Girnego the XXVIII daye of Aprile, the yere of God ane 
thousand fyve hundreth fourty nyne zeirs, it is appointed, concordit, 
and finalie endit betwix nobill and potent lordis, ane reverend fader 
in God, ane honorabill man, that is to say, George erle of Caithness, 
Johnne erle of Suthirland, Robert elect of Caithness, and Donald 
McKy of Far, for thame selfis, thair kin, freindis, part takkaris, partie 
purches, and allis, sail concur trew anefald part tak with uthir in all 
quarrel lis, caussis, debaittis, questionis, actionis, persutis, business, 
adois quhatsumevir, in contrar all deidle, for all the dayis and tenues 
of the saidis nobill lordis, ane reverend fadir in God, and honorabille 
lnanis lyfetymis, the auctoritie alanerlie exceptit ; and athir of the 
saidis lordis and honorabille man sail gif thair leill, trew, and anefald 
counsall to utheris in all maner of business, and sal nethir heir nor se 
nor persave utheris skaith, hurt, nor ony detrenient bot sail advertis 
utheris thairof be thameselff or sum mediattis, and incontinent 
thaireftir sail concur and tak anefald plane part with uthiris for the 
resisting thairof, the exceptioun alanerlie of befor expremit ; aud every 
ane of the saidis lordis reverend fadir and honorabile nianis actionis, 
debaitis, and persutis sal be reput as ane. And for observing, 
keiping, fulfilling of all and syndre claussis, pounctis, and articulis 
aboune expremit ilk ane of the saidis nobill lordis, reverend fadir, and 
honorabill man binds and oblissis thame, be the faitht and trewtht in 
thair bodeis, the hallie ewangelistis tuichit, and under the pane of 


perjure, inhabilite, infame, to be leill and trew, and tak anefald part 
with nthiris respective, as said is, aganis all deidlie, the auctoritie 
alanerlie excepit. Iu witnessing of the samyne the saidis nobill 
lordis, George erle of Caithnes, Johnne erle of Suthirland, Robert 
elect of Cathnes has subscribit and seillit thair bandis for thair pertis ; 
and becaus the said honorabill man, Donald McKy of Far, culd nocgt 
wrett, 1 he has selit this present with his proper sele, and has requestit 
ane reverend fadir in God, Robert elect of Cathnes, subscrive this said 
band, the said Donalds hand beand at the pen, day, yere, and place 
aboune writtin, befoir thir witness, ane venerable and honorable man, 
maister Wilyem Sinclair persoun of Olrik, David Sinclair of Doun. 

No. 22. Remission by Queen Mary of Scots to lye Makky of 
Farr, for guiding Englishmen to the town of Haddington in April, 
1548, and for helping them to fortify and hold it, given at Aberdeen 
on 5 Oct., 1562 :— 

eg. sec. sig. Preceptum remissionis Y Makky de Far, pro ipsius proditoria 
iinportationc et conducione vetorum Anglic inimicorum ad burgam de 
Hadington, in niense Aprilis anno Domini millesimo quingentesimo 
quadragesimo octavo, et ibidem assistentia et manifesta participatione 
cum ipsis in fortificatione eiusdem ville, equitatione ambulatione 
consultatione et adinnatione ipsorum, ad combucendum occidendum et 
depredandum pauperos liegios regni nostri et idem regnuin sub 
obediencia et subiectione regis Anglie ducendum, Et sic a regina 
suam regnam coronem reginalem et authoritatem spolatione et 
abreptione et pro omnibus aliis actionibus etc., proditoria, traditionc 

1. Writing was not an accomplishment of the nobles and landlords of this period, although 
the two earls here were able to sign their names without help. On 20th March, 1525, the Earl of 
Sutherland signed document No. 73 of Sutherland Book, Vol 111., " Adam Gordon with my hand at 
the pen, led by maister Thomas Gaderer, Notar Publik," and the same document is signed by 
" Elizabeth Sutherland, countas of Sutherland, with my hand at the pen," while document 63 of 
the same Vol. is signed "Johnne, erle of Chaithness, wt. my hand on pen." 


in propriam personam reginalem duntaxat excepta. Apud Aberdene 
quinto die raensis Octobris, anno Domini millesimo quingentesimo 
sexagesimo secundo, et regni regine vicesimo. 

Per signaturam. 

Reay Papers. 

No. 23. Contract and Agreement between George, Earl of 
Huntly, and lye McKy of Farr, regarding the lands of Stratlmaver 
and others, which Huntly had obtained in superiority from the queen, 
and which he now disponed to McKy on certain conditions, at 
Aberdeen 29 July, 1570 : — ■ 

At Aberdeen the XXIX day of July, the zeir of God ane thousand 
fyve hundreth threescoir ten zeirs. It is appointed aggreit contracted 
and faithful lie oblisit betwix ane nobill and potent lord, George, erle 
of Huntlie, lord Gordoune and Badzenache, on that ane part, and Y 
McKy on that other part in maner forme and effect as aftir followis, 
that is to say, the said nobill erle sail for the causes following and 
sowmes of money efter specifiet, with all gudelie haist, infeft 
heretablie be chartour of alienation and seasing in dew and competent 
forme, contenand the clause of warrandice eftir mentionat, the said 
Y McKy his airis and assignais to be holden of the said erle his airis 
and successouris for service warde and relief usit and wount, in all 
and hail the lands of Broneach, Dibit, Cattak, and twa penny-land 
band in the He of Stroma, in all and haill the landis of Galdwall, 
Ballinhagles with the salmound fisching yairof, Strathie with the 
salmound fisching yairof, Armadaill, Ffarre with the salmound 
fisching yairof, Invernaver, Ryndnowye, Skelpik, Carnachie, Ravigill, 
Syhir, Grubeg, Grumoir, Mowadaill, Torrisdaill with the salmound 
fisching yairof, Skerrie, Borgybeg, Borgymoir, Tung, Kirkebold, 
Skrabsitter, Kennessed, Letterlavel, Kinloch, Mellanes, Hoip, 
Laxfurde with the salmound fisching yairof, Arnabold, Honleian, 


Erebold, Straithurradaill, Keandlochbervie, Nahardin, Fenzedalis, 
Skuriebeg, Skurymoir, Cauldstrom, Elleu-Handa, Ellen-Chorie, 
Ellengyld, Ellen Rona, Ellen Colme, Langwall, Rosswall, Achynnes, 
Clebrik, togidder with the forrest of Derymoir, and als the laiidis of 
Kynnald, Golspitoure, Gillicallumkill and Edderachelis, the landis of 
Skaill, Rigabold, Saudwett, Ellenhall, Alscheleorbeg, Alscheleormoir 
with their pendiculis and pertinentis, and all ntheris landis, niylnis, 
woddes, fischeingis, offices, and eommoditeis quhatsnmevir, quhilkis 
pertenit or heritablie mycht have pertenit to the said Y McKyes fader 
or gudsir, Hand within the baronie of Straithnaverne and shirefdome 
of Innerness. And the said George erle of Huntlie sail warrand the 
sadis landis haill and in parte to the said Y McKy to be bronkit be 
him his airis and assignais frelie as thair propir heretage in manner 
abovexpremit, and in speciall sail warrand the samen fre of all titill 
maid or to be maid be him to quhatsumevir persoun or persounis and 
at the handis of the said erlis airis and snceessouris and fra 
quhatsumenir thing done or to be done be the said erle or his airis 
that may be preiudical to the said infeftment ; and in cais the saidis 
landis or ony parte yairof, the samen being named or compruhendit in 
the infeftment maid to the said erle yairupon, be evietit fra the said 
Y McKy his airis or assignais and iustlie recoverit be ordor of law at 
ony tyine for ony cause or right that did not result upon ony deed 
done or to be done be the said erle or his that micht 

not be stoppit be thame, then and in that cais the said erle bindis and 
obliss him his airis and snceessouris, thei beand lauchfullie requyrit 
for defence and warrandice yairof as accordis, to rcfound content and 
pay to the said Y McKy his airis and assignais the sowme of thre 
thousand markis usual monci of this realme ressavit be him for 
making rent of the landis expremit, or then 

alsmekill profitt zeirlie as the saidis landis that happenis to be evicted 
gevis and pais presentlie, and that within the space of fourti dais next 
eftir the saidis landis beis evicted ; and the said nobill lord sail 
warrand, and be the tenor heirof discharges the said Y McKy his airis 


and assignais of quhatsumever profittis dewiteis ressavit be him of 
the saidis laridis in ony tynie bygane, sen the daitt of the said erlis 
infeftment yairof or that sail be intromettit with be him or his airis in 
ony tynie earning be vertew of the said infeftment, and to that effect 
sail deliver to the said Y McKy ane autentick transumpt of the said 
erles awn seeuritie and infeftment of the saidis landis, to be usit be 
the said Y McKy his airis and assignais for thair defence be ressoun 
thair infeftment dependis yairupoun ; and becaus the said Y McKy 
takis ye saidis landis to be haldin for service ward and relieff of the 
said erle and his airis, nochtwithstanding that his forbaris broukit the 
samen of onr souerane, umqnhile kingis of Scotland, immediatelie as 
free barrones yairof, Thairfoir the said erle for him his airis and 
successouris, how oft and qnhattyme the samin ony wayes sail happin 
to fall in waird or cum in nonentre, or rycht or tytill yairof to cum in 
the said erle or his handis, for quhatsumevir caus, sail 

dispone and gif the saidis landis, and be the tenor heirof gevis and 
disponis the samen to the said Y McKy his airis and successouris 
that sail happin to succeed yairto, during the minoritie 

of the airis that suld enter thairto, for zeirlie payment during the said 
minorities to the said erle his airis and successouris of the sowrae of 
ten markis usual money of this realme, And the said infeftment to be 
maid sail contene that clause per expressum, and ward 

the richt and valor of the said Y McKyes manage tae said erle 
that he his airis and successouris sail be ressonable, 
and And becaus it is allegit that the saidis landis of 

Kynnald, Golspitoure, Gillicallunikill and in cais the 

samin may be found to be of veritie, the said erle sail not be oblisit to 
warrand the samin nochtwithstanding thei to be 

comprehendit in the said infeftment in that cais sail 

obtene entre yairof to himself and his airis, gif the said erlis 
infeftment and richt obtenit allis and richtis obtenit be 

the said Y McKy to be recoverit be the said Y McKy 

and his airis may brouke the samin as vassallis to the said erle of 



Huntlie and his airis. Sicklike, because it is allegit that the landis of 
Skaill, Rigabold, Sandwett, Ellenhall, Ascheleorbeg, Ascheleormoir 
to be haldin of the bischop of Caithines, sicklike, gif the samin sal be 
fundin of veritie the said erle sail nowayes be astricted for warrandice 
yairof, bot sail be fre of the samin notwithstanding that thei ar to 
be comprehendit in the said infeftment like as they had not bene 
comprehendit yairin ; and alsua becaus it is allegit the landis of 
Langwell, Rosswall, Achynnes, and Clebrig be haldin of the bischop 
and kirk of Murray, sicklike, gif the samin beis fundin of veritie the 
said erle sal be nawayes astricted for warrandice of the samin albeit 
thei are to be comprehendit in the said infeftment, bot sal be fre 
thairfra as the samin had not been put nor comprehendit yairin. 
And in cais it may be fundin be vertew of ony infeftment gift or 
contract maid thairof to the said erle that he may ony wayes enter 
thairto, the said erle sail obtaine infeftment to him and his airis of 
the immediat superior to the effect the said Y McKy and his airis 
may brouke the saidis landis as vassallis to the said nobill erle. And 
the said Y McKy sail relief the said erle of all sowmes of money 
contenit in quhatsumevir contract or promeist be his forbearis for 
obtening infeftment of the saids landis, and, sicklike, of all feu males 
and utheris dewties audit or that may be cravit of the forsaids landis, 
allegit halden of the forsaids kirkis, alsweill bygane as zeirlie in tyme 
coming, and alluther thingis that may be obtenit agains the said erle 
yairfoir, for zeirlie payment of the quhilkis few males aud dewities the 
said erle makkis constitutis and ordains the said Y McKy, his airis 
aud successouris, the said erle and his airis lauchful procuratouris in 
tyme cuming ; and gif be occasion of non-payment or ony uther caus 
cumand of the said Y McKy or his airis awin deed or defalt the 
saidis landis or ony part thairof happinnis to be recognoscit, the said 
erle and his airis sail not be obleist for warrandice thairof, provyding 
alsua that the said infeftment sail contene per expressum that the 
said Y McKy, his airis and successouris, sail at their entres in and to 
the saidis landis cum to the personall presence of the said erle and his 


airis and mak to tharae yare solempnit aith of fidellitie and homage, 
as vassallis audit to yair owir lordis and superioris, and sail gif sute 
and presence zerlie at three courtis in Inverness, and relief the said 
erle and his airis of all stentis and taxationis that happinnis to be 
imput upoun the saidis landis be the authoritie of the tyme. And als 
the said infeftment to contene ane heretabill rycht and power of 
bailzerie within the forsaidis landis to poniss transgressouris and evil 
doaris with the escheittis and profittis of the samin as effeiris ; and 
that ane seasing to be tane at the place and town of Farr sail be 
sufficient for the haill landis contenit in the said infeftment 
nochtwithstanding that thei ly discontigue and attoure, the said nobil 
lord obliss him and his airis to deliver to the said Y McKy and his 
airis ane sufficient power and licence of his immediat superior to 
annalie the saidis landis nochtwithstanding his L. haldis the samin in 
waird and relief, and to obtene theme ratificatioun and confirmatioun 
of the said infeftment to be maid be him to thame to the effect that 
his L. and thei as vassallis may peciablie brouke the samin for the 
quhilkis causes, and infeftment to be maid in maner and forme aboue 
expremit the said Y McKy bindis and obliss him his airis and 
assignais to refount, content, and pay to the said nobil lord, his airis, 
executouris, and assignais, the sowme of thre thousand markis usual 
money of this realme of Scotland at the terms eftir following, viz., the 
the sowme of ane thousand pundis money at the feist of Martymes 
nixt following the dait heirof, and the uther thowsand pundis money 
at the feaste of Mertymes nixt yairefter, to wit, in the zeir of God ane 
thowsand fyve hundreth threscoir ellewin zeiris in haill and compleit 
payment of the said sowme ; and for mair securitie and payment 
yairof the said Y McKy is content and consentis that nochtwith- 
standing the making of this said infeftment and perfyting thairof 
presentlie, that the samin sail be consignit and remaue unusit be him 
and na seasing to be taken be vertew thairof, iukeiping be William 
lord Forbes and his airis quhill the compleit payment of the saidis 
sowmes at the termes forsaid or soner as the saidis sowmes happinnis 


to be compleitlie pait, provyding that efter the payment of the samin 
the not taking of the said seasing sail not be prejudicial! to the said 
Y McKy anent the profittis of the saidis landis, bot the samin to 
pertene to him the said money beand pait like as he instantlie had 
takin seasing yairof, provyding likeways that the said lord Forbes at 
the ressait of the said evident sail gif sufficient obligatioun to the said 
erle and Y McKy to deliver the said infeftment onusit to the said erle 
and his airis in cais of non-payment of the forsaidis sovvmes at ony of 
the terms abovewrittin, or within XX dayes yairefter, and in caiss of 
compleit payment to deliuer the said infeftment to the said Y McKy 
or his airis incontinent yairefter to be usit be yame as yair proper 
evident. And in caiss the said Y McKy sail happin to failzie in 
payment at ony of the forsaidis twa termes, he nor his airis to have 
na access to the saidis landis and infeftment be vertew of this present 
contract ; and in caiss the said Y McKy, in laik as God forbid, eftir 
the payment of the said first terme and befoir the payment of the last 
he or his airis failzeing in payment of the said last term, thei to have 
restitution of the money pait be the said Y McKy a foir or the said 
erle have intres agane to the profittis of the saidis lands, and the 
samin to be broukit be thamc ay and while the said erle or his airis 
mak payment to thame of the forsaid sowme or to utheris personis 
havand right thairto, and the samin being pait be the said erle or his 
airis they to have fre regres in and to the profittis of the forsaids 
landis, as they had of some tyme befoir the making of thir presentis, 
and not to be oblisit to ony of the contentis heirof. And becaus it is 
allegit be Alexander erle of Sutherland that the said Y McKy has 
intromittit with the landis of Strafleitt and Braechatt, and occupiit 
the samin during the minoritie of the said erle, the said Y McKy at 
the desire of the said erle of Huntlie lies bund and oblisit him and be 
thir presentis bindis and obliss him, his airis, and assignais, to desist 
and ceiss fra all occupying and intromitting with the saidis landis, and 
to leif the samin void and red in all tyme cuming at the feist and term 
of Witsounday nixt to cum, to be usit occupiit and intromettit with at 


the plesor of the said erle of Suthirliand, provyding always that the 
said desisting and ceasing be na parte of the satisfactioun for the 
infeftment of the landis above specifiit. And because the said erle of 
Sutherland pretends tytil rycht and intres to the forsaidis landis of 
Skaill, Rigabold, Sandwett, Ellenhall, Alscheleorbeg, Alscheleormoir, 
or ony uthir landis contenit within this contract allegit pertenand to 
the said erle, the said erle of Suthirland has chosin nobillmen, to 
witt, John erle of Athoill, lord Balvany &c, Johnne Bellenden of 
Auchinmowle, knycth, justice-clerk, Maister Robert Creichton of Eliot, 
our soueranes advocat, Sir James Balfour of Pettindreich, knycgt 
presedent, Alexander Gordoun of Geicht, and Alexander Gordoun of 
Abirgeldie for his parte, and the said Y McKy hes chosin noblemen, 
viz., William Lord Forbes, John Grant of Frewchie, Mr. Duncan 
Forbes of Monymusk, John Caldell of Aslown, Mr. Robert Lumisden 
of Clova, Mr. Alexander Skene, advocat, for his parte, and the said 
erle of Huntlie to be owirman to the quhilkes personnes or ony twa 
of thame ; the saidis parties hes submittit and be thir presentis 
submittis thair haill richt titilles intress that thci had has or any 
wayes may pretend or have in and to the saidis landis of Skaill, 
Rigabold, Sandwett, Ellenhall, Alscheorbeg, Alscheormoir, and 
ntheris landis pertening to the said erle, or ony parte thairof older 
propertie or possessioun, to be decydit be thame and to be adjugit to 
athir of the saidis parties be thair decret and decissioun, quha sail 
convene at Elgin or quhair and quhen it sail pleis the said erle of 
Huntlie, and baith the saidis parties hes faithfullie sworne to abyde at 
the saidis juges decreit and decisioun and neuir te cum in the contrail" 
thereof; And for observing keiping and fulfilling of all and sundrie 
the premiss baith the parties ar content and consentis that this 
present contract be acted and registrate in the bukis of Cownsall, 
Sheriffis bukis of Inverness and Abirdene, and Conimissarii bukis of 
Abirdene, and to have the strenth of ane act and decreit of the lordis 
shireffs and commissaries yairof, and thair authorities to be interpouit 
thairto, and executorialles to pass thairupon in forme as effeiris, and 


for registrating heirof makis and constitutis descreit men 
and ilkane of thame conjnnctlie and severallie their lauchfull and 
undoubted procuratouris gevand to thame full powar to compeir 
befoir the lordis of sessioun, shireffis of Inverness and Abirdene, and 
commissaries of Abirdene, days and place neidful, and thair for thame 
and in thair names desire this present contract to be registrat in thair 
bukis, and thair authoritie to be interponit thairto with executoriallis 
to pass thairupoun in forme abovewrittin, promessand tham to hald 
ferme and stebill all that yair saidis procuratouris sail happin to do iu 
the premiss. In witness quhairof baith the said nobill Lord George 
erle of Huntlie, Y McKy, and Alexander of Suthirland lies subscrivit 
this present contract with their handis, day, zeir, and place above- 
writtin, befoir thir witness, Johanne commendater of Arbroith, 
Johnne commendater of Coldinghame, George lord Seatoun, Adam 
Gordoun of Auchindown, and Mr. Alexander Skene, advocat, with 
utheris diversis. 

(signed) George Erll of Huntlie. 

Alexander Erll of Sutherland. 
Y Mcky, wt. my hand. 

No. 24. Charter by the Earl of Huntly to Y McKy, in 
beat papers, consequence of Agreement No. 23, of the lands of Strathnaver and 
others, 31 July, 1570. 1 

No. 25. Discharge granted by the Earl of Huntly to Lord 
Forbes and to Y McKy, on payment of the 3000 merks stipulated in. 
the contract No. 23, dated 23 Feb., 1571 :— 

1. The original document is so tattered as to make it impossible to attempt a copy, but the 
preceeding agreement No. 23 (which in places is also tattered) and the following Sasine No. 26 
should contain all the important facts of the moth-eaten charter. 

Beat Papers 


Be it kend tyll all men be thir presentis, We, George erle of 
Huntlie, loird Gordoune and Badzenet, &c, for us oure airis and 
successouris to grant and confessis yat albeit Wm. Loird Forbes, 
wicht mutual consent of us and Y McKy of Farr, resauit in keiping 
ane infeftment charter and precept of sesing, maid sealit and 
subscryvit be us to ye said Y McKy his airis assignais and 
successouris, Of all and haill ye landis of Strathnaver wicht ye 
pertinentis lyand witin ye shrefdom of Inverness, to remaine in the 
saidis lordis handis onusit or sesing taken be the said Y McKy or 
utheris in his name, qll. we war compleitlie payit be the said Y 
McKy of the sowme of three thousand markis at ye tenuis mentionat 
in the said lordis obligatioune ; and failzeing of payment at yat ilk 
tenuis of the said sowme, to delyuer to us againe ye forsaid 
infeftment charter and precept of sesing onusit or sesing takine be 
wertew of ye saimyn be ye said Y McKy or utheris in his name, and 
failzeing heirof to pay to us and oure successouris the sowme of fywe 
thowsand markis, as ye said loirdis obligatioune maid to us yairupoune 
and registrat in ye ssref. of Abirdeine and consistorie buikis of the 
samyn, the obligatioune beand of the dayt, At Forbes, ye secound day 
of August, the zeir of God JMVC threscoir ten zeirs, and beand 
registrat and act maid yairon ye fourt day of ye samyn monetht and 
zeir and contenis. And becaus ye said Y McKy hes 

compleitlie payit to us, be himself and utheris in his name and at his 
comand, compleitt payment of ye forsaid sowme of three thowsand 
markis as oure acquitance gewen yairon purportis, and yairfoir grantis 
and confessis ye said Williame Loird Forbes obligatioune satisfeit and 
furthfillit, and yairfoir to delyuer to ye said Y McKy ye forsaid 
infeftment charter and precept of sesing of the forsaid landis of 
Strathnaver with ye pendicles, for to be usit and sesing takyne be ye 
said Y McKy or utheris in his name at his plesour as his awine 
propir evidentis. And be ye tenor of thir presentis remiteis and 
dischargis the said AVilliame Loird Forbes obligatioune of ye dayt 
forsaid, and all actis maid yairon ye effect and strent. yairof, and 


grantis and consentis ye samyn be cassit, expirit, and dcleuted 
simpliciter and for euer out of the saidis buiks ; and to yat effect, be 
ye tennr. of thir pntis., constitutis and makkis maisteris George 
Barclay and Patoune, and ilk ane of yem coniunctly and 
seueralie, oure irrevocable procuratonris in yiss case, for us and in 
oure name, to consent to ye deleitting and cassaing of the saidis 
obligatioune and actis maid yairon furth of ye forsaidis bnikis, for us 
and in our name as all thingis to exerce do and caufs 

to be donne yairanent fferme and and for to get all 

quhatsumeur oure procuratoris or ony ane of zame conjunctlie and 
severally 1 

Eeat Papers. 

No. 26. Sasiste following upon charter No. 25, to lye McKy, of 
the lands of Strathnaver, etc., otherwise the barony of Farr, 20 April, 
1571 :— 

In Dei nomine, amen. Per hoc presens publicum instrumentum 
cunctis pateat evidentur sit notuni quod anno incarnationis Dominice 
millesimo quingentesimo septuagesimo primo, mensis vero Aprilis die 
vicesimo, et regni supremi domini nostri principis, Jacobi Sexti Dei 
gratia Scotorum regis, anno quarto : In mei notarii publici et testium 
subscriptorum presentiis personaliter constitutus discretus vir, 
Johannes Dauidsoun, vicarus de Raa, procurator et eo nomine 
honorabilis viri, Odonis Makky, de cuius procuratoris mandato mihi 
notario publico subscripto luculenter constabat, habens et tenens in 
suis manibus quandam cartam et preceptum sasine in se continen. 
nobilis et potentis domini Georgii comitis Huntlie, domini Gordoun et 
Badzenach, baronis baronie de Straithnaver etc., pergamino script, 
eius subscriptione manuali cum appensione sui proprii sigilli roborat, 

1. About a dozen words at the end of the document are undecipherable on account of its 
moth-eaten condition. 


accessit ad personalem presentiam honesti viri Willielmi Johannis 
Roberti, ballivi in hac parte specialiter constituti, prefatam cartam et 
preceptum sasine in se sic continen. eidem ballivo presentan. 
Ipsumque debita cum instantia requiren. quatenus ipse statim et 
sasinam terrarum in dicto precepto contentarum procuratorio, et in eo 
nomine ipsius Odonis daret quiquidem ballivus prefatam cartam et 
preceptum sasinae, ut prefertur ea qua decuit reverentia ad maims 
recepit et mihi notario publico subscripto easdem perlegendum 
tradidit quas etiam ad maims recepi, et alia ac intelligibile voce 
perlegi et valgarizavi, cuius precepti tenor sequitur et est talis. 
Insuper dilectis nostris Willielmo Johne Robsoun etc., ballivis nostris 
in hac parte, conjunction et divisim specialiter constitutis, stricti 
precipimus et firmiter mandamus quatenus visis presentibus indilate 
statum sasinam hcreditariam, possessionemque actualem realem et 
corporalem omnium et singularum predictarum terrarum de Broneach, 
Dibit, Cattack, et duarum denariatarum terrarum jacen. in insula de 
Stroma, necnon omnium ct singularum terrarum de Galdwall, 
Ballinhagles cum salmonum piscationibus earundem, Strathie et de 
salmonum piscatione eiusdem, Skerry, Borgybeg, Borgymoir, 
Armidaill, Farr ct de salmonum piscatione eiusdem, Invernaver, 
Ryndnowie, Skelpick, Carnachie, Ravigill, Syhir, Growbeg, Growmoir, 
Mowadaill, Torrisdaill et de salmonum piscatione eiusdem, Toung, 
Kirkebold, Scrabuster, Kennesed, Lettirlavell, Keandloch, Mellencs, 
Hoip et de salmonum piscatione eiusdem, Laxfurde et de salmonum 
piscatione eiusdem, Arnabold, Honleian, Erebokl, Straithurradaill, 
Keandloch bcrvie, Nahardin, Fenziedailles, Skowriebeg, Skowriemoir, 
Oauldstrom, insule de Hauda, insule de Chorie, inside de Gyld, inside 
de Rone, insule de Colme, Lang wall, Rosewall, Auchynnes, Clebrig 
et de foresta de Derymoir et pertinentiis, ac etiam omnium et 
singularum terrarum de Kynnald, Golspitoure, Gillecallumkill et de 
molendino eiusdem, et Edderachiles, terrarum de Skaill, Rigabolcl, 
Sandwatt, insule de Hall, Alcheleourebeg, Alcheleouremoir, et de 
pendiculis et pertinentiis earundem ut premittitur jacen. ; necnon 



officii dicti balliatus et donationis dicte warde et nonintroitus dicto 
Y McKy secundum tenorem presentis nostre carte, tradatis et 
deliberetis seu alter vestrum tradat et deliberet salvo jure cuilibet ad 
quod faciendum vobis et vestrum cuilibet conjunctim et divisim, 
nostram plenarium ten ore presentium committimus potestatem sive 
revocatione. In cuius rei testimonium presentibus manu nostra 
subscriptis sigillum nostrum proprium est appensum apud Abirdonen. 
ultimo die mensis Julii, anno Domini millesimo quingentesimo 
septuagesimo, coram hiis testibus : Johanne commentario de 
Abirbrothock, Jobanne comentario de Coldinghame, Alexander 
apparente de Elphingstoun, Magistro Roberto Gordoune, cancellario 
Morrauien. germano nostro, Alcxandro Drummond de Medop, et 
Magistro Alexandra Skene advocato, cum diversis aliis, et sic 
subscribitur " George eric of Huntlie." Post cuiusquidem precepti 
pcrlecturam publicationem et vulgarizationem, prefatus Willelmus 
ballivus qui supra attendens eiusmodo rcquissitionem fore justam et 
rationi consonan. volens officium sui ballivatus in hac parte exercere, 
accessit tanquam filius obedicute ad messuagium et mansionem de 
Fair, cui omnes et singuli terre cum ceteris, earundem annexis et 
pcrtinentiis, molendinis, piscariis, insulis, silvis, et forestis, cum 
officio ballivatus eorundem in dicto £>recepto contentis sunt unito et 
annexe, Et ibidem statum sasinam hereditariam possessionemque 
actualem realem et corporalem omnium et singularum terrarum in 
dicto precepto contentarum, cum molendinis, multuris eorundem, 
piscariis salmonum, silvis, forestis, et insulis cum eorundem annexis et 
pcrtinentiis una cum officio ballivatus antedict. secundem tenorem 
prefati precepti sasine prefato Jolianne Dauidsoun, procuratorie eo 
nomine prefati Odonis McKy, per terre et lapidis fundi ly hesp et 
stapill messuagii seu mansionis eorundem traditionem, ut moris est, 
tradidit et deliberavit salvo jure cuiuslibet ipsumque Johannem, 
procuratorem et eo nomine Odonis McKy, in easdem induxit et 
investivit ac in pace dimisit nemine opponent aut contradicente. 
Super quibus omnibus et singulis dictus Johannes Davidsoun, 


procurator et eo nomine dicti Odonis McKy, a me notario publico 
subscripts sibi fieri petitt instrumentum, et instrumenta acta erant 
hec super solo dictarum terrarum de Far et principalae domus et 
messuagii earundem respective, horam circiter secundam post 
meridiem, sub anno, die, mense, et regno quibus supra, presentibus 
ibidem Johannem Tullidas burgen. de Abirdene, Thoma Cusnii 
burgen. eiusdem, Roderico McWilliam Makryrie, Nigello Mcleane 
MakWilliam, servis dicti Odonis, Johanne Stewart, et Paulo Factoure 
ibidem, cum diversis aliis testibus ad premissa vocatis et requisitis. 

Et ego vero Magister Thomas Brady, artium magister 
Sancti Andree diocesis apostolica authoritate notarius 
publicus etc. etc. 

No. 27. Charter of Confirmation by King James VI. to 
Alexander Makghie of Balmagie, of specified lands now created into 
the free barony of Balmagie, to be held of the Crown hereditarily by 
him and his heirs male, whom failing by James his brother and his 
heirs male, 31 Oct., 1587: — 

eeg jiag sig ^ ex confirmavit Alexandra Makghie — 5 Marcatae terrarum de 
Nethir Camdudzell vulgo lie manis de Balmaghie, 2-£ marcatae de 
Ovir Camdudzell, 2-1- marcatae de Barneborde, 2j marcatae de 
Glentew cum molendino multuris etc., 21 marcatae de Drumkane, 16 
solidat de Barend, 16 solidat de Meikill Creochis, 2 J- marcatae de 
Cainnyk, 2J marcatae de Tarmollen, 2\ marcatae de Grobdaill, 2-£ 
marcatae de Arie, 16 solidat de Slogarie, 21 marcatae de Ovir de 
Nethir Crais, 131 marcatae de Toris de Keltoun, cum castris etc. in 
parochis de Balmagie et Keltoun, senes. Kirkudbrycht — quas per 
servitium warde tentas, idem Alexander resignavit ; et quas rex, pro 
bono servito dicti Alexandri, qui magnas summas thesaurio pro hoc 
infeofamento persolvit, incorporavit in liberam baroniam de Balmagie, 


ac voluit quod maneries de Balmagie esset principale messuagium 
ejusdem — Tenend. dicto Alexandra et heredibus masculis ejus de 
corpore legitime procreatis, quibus deficientibus Jacobo Makghie ejus 
fratri germane- et heredibus &c, quibus deficientibus legit, 
propinquioribus heredibus mas. dicti Alexandri, cognomen et arma de 
Makghie gerentibus quibuscunque. A pud Halyrudbous 31 Oct., 

No. 28. Excerpt Charter of Confirmation by King James VI. 
to Hugh HcKy Forbes of Far and Donald McKy Forbes his eldest 
son, whom failing to John McKy Forbes his second son or others 
therein mentioned, of the lands of Dilret, etc., in Caithness, of the 
lands within the barony of Stratlmaver, and of the lands of Golspie- 
tower, etc., within the lordship of Sutherland, dated at Edinburgh 26 
May, 1608 :— 

Jacobus Dei gratia &c. Sciatis nos quandam cartam factam 
eeo. mag. sig. ,jatam e t concessam per predilectum nostrum consanguineum 
Joannem Sutherlandie, comitem, baronem baronie de Far dominem 
superiorem terrarum alioi'umque subscript, dileeto nostra Hugoni 
McKy Forbes de Far in vitali reditu pro omnibus sue vite diebus, ac 
Donaldo McKy Forbes suo filio seniori et heredibus suis masculis de 
corpore suo legitime procreandis, quibus deficientibus Joanni McKy 
Forbes filio secundo eenito dicti Hugonis McKv Forbes et heredibus 
suis de corpore suo legitime procreandis, quibus deficientibus 
heredibus masculis inter dictum Hugonem McKy Forbes et Jeannem 
Gordoun suam sponsam procreatis vel procreandis, quibus etiam 
deficientibus heredibus masculis dicti Hugonis McKy Forbes de 
corpore suo legitime procreandis, quibus omnibus deficientibus 
Willielmo McKy Forbes fratri germano dicti Hugonis McKy Forbes 
et heredibus masculis de corpore suo legitime procreatis seu 


procreanclis, quibus etiam deficientibus Donaldo McKy Forbes de 
Skowrie et heredibus masculis de corpore suo legitime procreatis seu 
pvocreaudis, quibus omnibus deficientibus legitimis et propinquioribus 
heredibus masculis dicti Hugonis McKy Forbes de Far, cognomen et 
anna de McKy Forbes gerentibus, quibuscunque omnibus et singulis 
terris, molendinis, piscariis, et sylvis infrascriptis, viz., de omnibus et 
singulis terris de Broneacht, Dilret, Cattak, et duabus denariatis 
terrarum jacen. in insula de Stroma, infra diocesim Cathanem. et 
vicecomitatum de Inverness, necnon de omnibus et singulis terris de 
Galdwall et Ballinliagles cum salmonum piscationibus earundem, 
Strathy salmonum piscatioue ejusdem, Armidall et Farr cum 
salmonum piscationibus earundem, Invernaver, Rinduovie, Skelpick, 
Carnacliie, Ravigill, Scliir, Grubcg, Grumore, Mowadaill, Torrisdaill 
cum salmonum piscationc ejusdem, Borgibeg, Borgiuioir, Skerry, 
Tung, Kirkwold, Scrabuster, Kennesede, Letterlavell, Keandlocht, 
Mellandis, Hoip cum salmonum piscatione eiusdem, Arnabold, 
Humbleiane, Erebold, Straithurradaill, Keandloclitberve, Naharden, 
Fenzedallie, Laxfurde cum salmonum piscatioue ejusdem, Skurrebeg, 
Skurremoir, Cauldstrome, Edderdaclies, insulis de Handa et Chorie, 
insula de Gyld, insula de Rone, insula de Calme, terris de Langwall, 
Rosswall, Auchinnes, Clebrig cum foresta de Derrymoir, Skaill, 
Rigabold, Sandwatt, insula de Hall, Alscheleourebeg, Alscheleouremoir 
cum pertineutiis, jacen. in diocesi Cathanie infra baroniam de Strath- 
navern et vicecomitatum de Inverness, Ac etiam de terris de Kynnald, 
Golspitoure, Gilliecallumkill cum molendino ejusdem et aliis pendiculis, 
commoditatibus &c., jacen. in domiuio de Sutherland infra diocesim 
et vicecomitatum predict. &c. [The confirmed charter, dated 6 June, 
1G06, is at this point inserted at length.] Datum apud Edinburgum 
26 May, 1608. 

No. 29. Remission to Donald McKy, fiar of Far, and many 


others for the slaughter of John Sinclair of Stirkoke and Arthur 
Smyth, and for wounding James Sinclair brother of Dun, dated at 
Roystoun 13 Jan., 1614 : — 

Rex dedit literas remissionis Donaldo McKy feodatario de Far, 

reg. mag. sig. j oanu i Gordoun apparenti de Golspytour, Joanni Gordoun filio 

naturali Joannis Gordoun de Bakeis, Adamo Gordoun in Dole, Joanni 

Baillie, Willielmo McEan McEane, Murtheo Neil Williamsoun, 

Joanni William Alastir Williamsoun, Allaster ejus fratri, Willielmo 

Johne Allester Williamsoun, Nigello McAlaster Johne Neilsone, 

Murtheo Wm. Murthowson, Nigello ejus fratri, Joanni Agnus 

Reidsone, Joanni Donald Rorie Reidsone, Angusio Henrie Wm. 

Alastersone, Rorie Reid Wm. Alastersoue, Donaldo Reid McEane 

Mclnnes, Joanni Ross juniori, Joanni Donald Johne Wm. sone, 

Angusio Henrie Wm. Henrysone, Wilielmo Donald Griersone, 

Angusio McRorie McEane McFindlay, Willielmo Ouer, Joanni 

McWm. McAndrew, Donald Mclnnes Mclnnes, Wm. Johnne Wm. 

Rorison, Angusio John Hutcheonsoun, Murtheo McAUastir McEan 

McNeill, Nigello McMurthow McWilliam, Clericho McEan McPhail, 

Murtheo Naverach, Donaldo McCruimien lie pyper, Joanni McRorie 

lie pyper, Wm. McDonnachie McHoutcheoun, Donaldo Dow Henrik, 

Wm. Wm. Thomas-essousone in Carnoichie, Donaldo Myllar, Angusio 

Donald Murthowsone, Thormet ejus fratri, Nigello Nachinarre, 

Donald Rob Gibbersone, Joanni McEane Mclntagartie, et Joanni 

Buy, pro eoruin vita duraturas — pro arte parte intcrfectionis 1 Joannis 

Synclair de Stirkake et Arthuri Smyth, necnon pro nmtilatione Jacobi 

Synclair, fratris Synclair de Dyu, mense Maio, 1612. 

No. 30. Tack by the Bishop of Caithness to Donald McKy 
Forbes, fiar of Strathnaver, of the teind vicarage of the barony and 

1. The slaughter here referred to took place at Thurso, when Arthur Smyth, the suspected 
counterfeit coiner, was being apprehended by warrant of the authorities (Earld. of Suthr.) 

Eeay Papers. 


parish of Durness during the lifetime of the said Donald and for two 
19 years after his death, dated 28 May, 1615 : — 

Be it kend till all men be thir pnts., We Alexander be the mercie 
of God bischope of Cathnes, with advyse and speciall consent of ye 
deane and chapter of ye said bischoprick chaptorlie convenit, The 
utilitie and profit of ye rent of or. said bischoprik foursein and 
maturlie considdered, And specialie now efter ye desolutiunn of 
benefices ecclesiasticall conforme to the particular actis and statutus 
made yairanent, and in augmentatiunn of the reutall of ye said 
bischoprik and rent yrof efter sa lang desolutiunn and lait restitutiony 
of the sameu be way of new erectionn, and for uyeris causs and 
considerationnes moveing us, And specialie for certane soumes of 
mony payit and delyuerit to us be ye richt houorabill Donald McKy 
Forbes fear of Stranaverne at ye making of thir pnts., quthairof we 
hauld us weill appleisst and discharges ye said Donald and all uyers 
quthome it effeirs of the sameu for now and ever. Thairfore we with 
advyse and consent foresaid to have set aud in tak and assedatioun 
for maill lettis, lykeas be the tenor hcirof we wt. consent and aysent 
as said is setis aud in tak and assedatioun for maill lettis to the said 
Donald McKy Forbes, his airis, assignies, subtenentis, and donators, 
ane or mae quthsomeuer, All and haill the teind vicarags great and 
small quthsumeur of the haill barronie and parochine of Ardowrenes, 
haill tounes and lands within the samen quthatsumeur, pendicles and 
pertiuds. yrof, perteining heretablie to Johnue erle of Sutherland and 
to the said Donald McKy, and within the dyocie of Cathnes aud 
srefdom of Inverness, to be tenndit, collectit, gadderit, intromcttit 
with, and dispouit uponn be the said Donald and his forsaids, and 
that for all the dayes, zeirs, and termes of the lyftyme of the said 
Donald McKy Forbes, and yrefter for all ye dayes, zeirs, aud termes 
of nynteine zeirs taks immediately efter the deceis of the said Donald 
quthaneur it sail haj>pin. Quthilks ninteine zeirs forsaids being 
compleitlie furthrun for all ye deyis, zeirs, and termes, of uther 


nyntin zeirs taks immediatlie yrefter following, makane in all ane 
lyfrent and tua nyntein zeirs taks to ye said Donald, his airis, 
assignis, subtenents, and donators forsaids. The said Donald McKy 
Forbes and his foursaids entrie to this pnts. tak and assedatioun to be 
and begin the day and dait of thir puts., in this instant zier of God 
ane thowsand sex hundreths and thretene zeirs, and thairefter to 
indure in the peacabill collecting, gaddering, uptaking, resaneing, 
seting, and disponing in the said teind wicarage great and small of 
the lands and barronie forsaids by and qll. the forsaids lyvrent and 
twa nynteine zeirs tak be compleitlie furthnin, payand thairfor zeirlie 
the said Donald McKy Forbes and his forsaids to us and or. 
successors, bischopis of the said bischoprick of Cathnes, or. factoris 
and chalm. lanes in or. names haueand or. pouer and demissionn, for 
all and haill the teind wicarage great and small of the saids lands and 
barronie, haill pairtis and pertinents of the samen, the soume of 
fourtie markis vsual Scotis mois zeirlie, betwixt Qlk 

is the teind siluer that was pyit abefor for the wicarage of the saids 
haill lands zeirlie, And the soume of sex schillings viijd Scotis money 
in augmentation of or. rentall mair nor was the sumes pyit abefor, 
and that allanerlie for all uther exactions, demand, or deweties 
quhatsumeuir that in onywayis may be askit or craveit fra the said 
Donald McKy Forbes and his forsaids for the said teind wicarage 
great and small of the lands supramentionnat. And we, forsuthe, for 
us and or. successors faithfullie binds and obliges us and thame with 
advyse and consent forsaid to warrand thir pnts. set and assedationn 
of the wicarage of the saids lands great and small to the said Donald 
McKy Forbes and his forsaids, during all the dayis and termes of his 
lyftyme and for the space of twa nyntein zeirs yreft. following, for 
zeirlie pyment as is abovewreten guid laull. raid sufficient, contrar all 
dcidlie, salvo jure cuislibet, and that we nayer have done nor sail do 
onything that may be hurtfull or prejudiciall herto ; And gif thir pnts. 
be nocht sufficient to ye effect abovewritin, oblises us and or. forsaids 
to renew and reforme the samen to the said Donald and his forsaids, 


gif we sail be desyrit yrto, to keipand the substautiall heids 
abovewretin in maist ampill forme that cau be divisit. And for 
better suerts heirof we are content and consents that thir pnts. be 
regrat. in the biiikes of Counsill, and the lords decreit thr'of iutr' 
ponit thrto with Ires, and executoriallis to pas vpoun ane single charge 
of fifteen dayis allanerlie, and to the effect constitutes 
oure proris., coniunctlie and seueralie, to consent to the regratioun 
heirof in vberiori forma constitution is promitten. cle rato. In 
Witness qr'of to thir put. letter of lyfrent and twa nyntein zeiris tak, 
wretin be Johnne Donaldsoun, notar publict, we hane snbscryvit the 
samen wit or. proper seill, with ye comoun seill of or. said bischoprik 
ar heirto appendit in tokin of the chaptoris consent. At Abirdene 
the twentie twa daye of May, anno Jaivic and fyftene zeirs, Befor 
thir witness, Arthor lord Forbes, Jon. Forbes of Gask, Wm. Dalgarns 
of yt ilk, Thomas Bisset, sruitor. to the said lord ; Mr. Andrew 
Clerk, not. publict, Jon. Donaldsone, forsaid writr heirof. 

Jo. Donaldsone, not. public, 

writer heirof, witnes. A. Forbes, bischopp of Cathnes. 

Thomas Bisset, witnes. M. J. Gray, deane of Cathnes. 

Mr. An. Sin-Clark, witnes. Mr. Rich. Merchstone, archdean, 

Wm. Dalgarns, witnes. 
Arthur L. Forbes, witnes. Mr. William Smyth, person of 

Duuet, consentis. 
Johne Forbes, witnes. 

Walter Anderson, p'sone A. Ogstoune, persone of Cannesby, 
of Kildona'd. consentis. 

No. 31. Charter Novodamtjs by King James YI. to Donald 
M'Cay of Arnegill and to his son Evir hereditarily, of the office of 
crowner of North-Kintyre and of the four merk lands of Arnigill and 
Ugadail pertaining thereto, as these were given novodamus by King 



James V. to Donald's grandfather, Evir M'Ky-moir de Arnigill, 
which charter was burnt when Kintyre was devastated by the 
Macleans — charter dated 28 Dec, 1015 : — 

Rex — cum consensu &c — concessit et de novo dedit Donaldo 
EEGi JlAGi SlG * M'Cay de Arnegill, in vitali redditu, et post ejus decessum Euero lie 
Ewir M'Cay ejus filio legit, primogenito et heredi apparenti, et ejus 
heredibus, hereditarie — officium coronatoris insule et limitum de 
North Kintyre, et 4 mercat. terrarum de Arnegill et Vughedall in 
Mid Kintyre ad dictum officium spectantes, vie. de Tarbert : — que rex 
Jac. V. de novo dederat quondam Ewir M'Kay-moir de Arnegill, avo 
dicti Donaldi (vid. Reg. Mag. Sig., a.d. 1513-1546, cartam 1 2756), 
prout in extractu de registro per D. Alex. Hay de Quhitburgh, 
militem, clericum rotulorum, registri ac concilii subscripto contentum 
est ; et quorum carte combuste et deperdite fuerant occasione 
multorum bellorum,' homicidorum, combustionum et depredationum 
lie hairschipis inter pravissima cognomina et gentes de et 

M'CIaine invicem perpetratarum, unde integre terre de Kyntyre 
sepenumero vastate exsiterant, — et que regni devenerant virtute acti 
parliamenti 19 Dec, 1597, ob non productionem cartarum. 

No. 32. Inventory of Charter by William MacAIlan in Toung 

inventory, to Sir Donald McKy of Strathnaver, of the Little Islands of 

Strathnaver, viz., Yell-Elian, Jura, Calva, Chrona, etc. — " pro certis 

quibusdam pecuniarum summis, aliisque gratitudinibus et benemeritis 

mihi etc.," dated 2 at Mowdell, 6 Oct., 1624. 

No. 33. Substance of Charter of Confirmation under the 

1. The charter here referred to we give in document No. 16 of our Appendix. 

2. The original charter was deposited by the 7th Lord Reay in the Register House, Edinburgh, 
about the middle of JMarch, 3832. Sasine on this charter was taken 4 Nov., and registered 
12 Nov., 1024. 


Great Seal by King Charles I. to Sir Donald McKy of Strathnaver 
beg. mag. sig an< ^ ms heirs male : — Of all and hail the Town and lands of 
Sandside, Reay, Davochow, Borlum, Miltown, Isauld, Acharasker, 
Achamurlane, Shurarie, with the mills, fishings, woods, forests, etc., 
all lying within the barony of Dunbeath and sheriffdom of Inverness, 
on the resignation of Alexander, Master of Forbes, with consent of 
Lady Ann, Mistress of Forbes, and others therein mentioned, and 
containing a clause erecting the whole into a burgh of barony called 
Reay, with a seaport at Sandside, and with power to hold a weekly 
market and four fairs annually, dated 19 Feb., 1628. 

No. 34. Patent of Nobility granted by King Charles I. to Sir 
Donald McKy of Fan 1 , whereby the said Sir Donald, for his many 
valuable services rendered to the Danish king during the German 
war, was created Lord Reay in the baronage of Scotland, the title to 
descend to his heirs male bearing the name and arms of McKy, dated 
20 June, 1G28 :— 

Carolus Dei gratia Magne Brittanie Francie et Hybernie rex, 
fideique defensor, omnibus probis hominibus suis ad quos presentes 
litere pervenirent Salutem. Sciatis quia nos considerantes plurima 
bona et grata servitia per fidelem et dilectum nostrum Dominum 
Donaldum McKy de Farr, militem, avunculo nostro Danie regi in 
bello Germanico prestita, ubi non vitam suam et statum periclitatus 
est, sed quam plurimos generosos et alios infra illius regni partes ubi 
natus est ad hujusmodi periculum excitavit, consideratio quorum 
juncta cum nostra scientia ipsius probe indolis et penes alia 
sufficientiae, Ac quo melius omnes hujusmodi nostros dilectos 
subditos quorum bene meritum prosapia fortune et obseqium, erga 
nostrum servitium gratiosum nostrum favorem et respectum merentur 
ad honoratas virtutum vias incitemus tesseram aliquam nostre regie 

Eeay Papeks. 


benevolentie in dictum dominum Donaldum conferre juste meretur, 
Igitur nos e regia nostra potestate et authoritate regali fecimus, 
crcavimus, et constituimus, tenoreque presentium facimus, creamus, 
et constituimus prefatum Dominum Donaldum M'Ky, Dominum 
Baroxem De Rea, infra regnum nostrum Scotie, dan. et conceden. 
sibi et heredibus suis masculis cognomen et insignia de M'Ky 
gerentibus, titulum honorarem gradum et dignitatem domini baronis 
parliament infra dictum regnum, necnon investivimus tenoreque 
presentium investimus prefatum Dominum Donaldum heredesque 
suos masculos predict, in prefato titulo et dignitate omni tempore 
futuro Dominos de Rea nuncupandos et indignandos fore, Tenendum 
et habendum prefatum titulum honorem gradum et dignitatem cum 
suffragio in parliamento ct cum omnibus aliis prerogativis pre- 
eminentiis dignitatibus et honoribus quibuseunque ad predictam 
dignitatem domini pertinen. prenominato Domino Donaldo 
heredibusque suis masculis predictis, in omnibus nostris et 
successorum nostrorum parliamentis publicisque statum dicti regni 
nostri comitiis, Ac etiam ut potestate loco ac jure suffragium inibi 
dandi cum omnibus prerogativis et dignitatibus fruatur in omnibus 
per omnia sicuti aliquis dominus baro temporibus retroactis gaudebat 
ct fruebatur vel pro presenti infra idem regnum nostrum fruitur et 
gaudet, et ut prefatus Dominus Donaldus heredesque sui masculi 
predicti et eorum unusquisque successive omni tempore futuro 
Domini Baroxes de Rea indigitentur et nominentur, Et ut omni 
dignitate ct respectu dominis baronibus dicti regni nostri competen. 
honorentur mandan. etiam Leoni nostro regi armorum ct fratribus 
suis fecialibus ut additionern signorum et insignium presentibus dicti 
Domini Donaldi armis tradant et prescribant prout in talibus casibus 
usitatem et consuetum est. In cujus rei testimonium presentibus 
magnum sigillum nostrum apponi prccipimus, Apud rcgiam nostram 
de Quhithall vigesimo die mensis Junii, a.d. millesimo sexcentesimo 
vigesimo octavo, et regni nostri quarto. 

Per sienaturam. 


Vol. hi. 


No. 35. Extract from Letter of Donald, 1st Lord Reay, to 
Alex. Gordon — complaining of alleged plots by Sir Robert Gordon 
against his Lordship. Undated, but probably c. 163/. 1 

" Very honourable and loving uncle, Yours I received from Torris 

the 12th As for men to your son I had once some 

30 in roll that we might want, and would do my company good, aud 
I thought to have sent my son Hew with them. After meeting with 
my friends, they all in one voice absolutely have refused to suffer any 
men to go out of this country, till they see the events of these plots 
hatched by your brother, Sir Robert, for all our ruins, as is alleged ; 
and I am sorry there is too much evidence thereof. I am but one, 
and let never the earth bear me, but I would do for your son as for 
my own ; but I pray you uncle, excuse me that I must now follow 
part of the advise of them that thinks to die for my defence, and in 
defence of their father's lands. I am sorry that I know not in whom 
to trust, my own uncle betraying me. The world would not make 
me believe it if I had not seen his hand. The particulars were this : 
I was advertised that the letters I sent to the Council and to some 
councillors, being my friends, part were upholden aud part written 
over, aud my hand counterfeit, and closed with my own seal which I 
sent with William Innes, yet 1 did not accuse Sir Robert thereof at 
Dornoch, because I sent the letters with William Innes, and not with 
him ; yit in Toung I caused Sir John Gordon and Robert Munro of 
Assint to accuse Sansyd. He first freed Sir Robert, but in the end 
confessed Sir Robert made him do it, and produced a draught or 
copie of a letter written all by Sir Robert's hands, which letter Sir 
Robert, as he alleged, made him write over and counterfeit my name 
to it. Then they closit up and delevered it to the Council as from 

1. Sir Wnl. Fraser surmised that this letter was written c. 1630, but that date is impossible. 
In 1630 Lord Reay was fighting in Germany, and there is nothing in the P. C. Reg. before or 
immediately after that date to give countenance to his Lordship's complaint. Gordon of Sallagh, 
however, relates that his Lordship got into trouble before the Council in 1637 with reference to 
Mrs. Harrison, and that he was represented by Innes of Sandside, as stated here. 

Besides in 1630, his 3rd son Hugh was only 14 years of age and unfit to go abroad as a soldier, 
whereas in 1637 he was of suitable age. 


me — a letter that confessed more than Maistress Herison herself 
alleged. What more he confessed then Sir" John will show you, and 
time will try and show the rest. miserable world ! where there is 
no faith, trust nor credit ; to take a man his means, and then betray 
him ! The Lord forgive them. What could the Council do but as 
they did, having my letter as their warrand. I know you nor no 
honest heart will never believe there is so much falsehood in 
man, &c." 

SUTHR. Bli., 

No. 36. Extract from the Farewell Letter of Advice by Sir 
Robert Gordon to his nephew the Earl of Sutherland. Circa 
1627 1 :— 

Sir Robert Gordon proceeds : — " If you shall happen to buy or 
vol. m. purchase any lands in Strathnaver, use kindly the natives you find 

upon the land, that thereby you may purchase their love and alienate 
their minds from Mackay. And be not too hardhanded to them at 
first, for by a little frienes and liberality you may gain them, which is 
the nature of all highlanders. Yet by progress of time, I wish you 
to send some of your own people to dwell amongst them. . . . 

" Have ever some trusty secret friend both in Caithness and 
Strathnaver whom you shall entertain as your secret pensioner, that 
he may still advertise you of all things either spoken or devised 
against you or yours. . . . 

"Make all diligence to settle and establish your sheriffship of 
Sutherland and Strathnaver, if I do it not to your hand, and cause 
distinguish the same from the sheriffship of Inverness, making your 

1. Sir "Win. Fraser dated this paper as c. 1620, but we consider c. 1627 more likely. It was 
after Charles I. had ascended the throne in 1625 that the surrender of the hereditary sheriffship of 
Sutherland became even probable, and it was not carried into execution until 1631. As this paper 
strongly points to such a contingency, it must have been compiled sometime after the accession of 
King Charles I. , and before 162a when Mackay was created Lord Reay. 


own accounts to the exchequer. And if at any time your prince be 
earnest to have your sheriffship, let him have it for payment, 
providing that his majesty will be pleased to settle your regality ; else 
not. For seeing all Sutherland (for the most part) doth hold of you 
and your regality, you need not care much for the sheriffship. But 
dispone not to his majesty the sheriffship of Strathnaver without 
Macky his consent, seeing you are bound to warrand the same 
unto him. . . . 

" Keep a steadfast and perpetual amity with the house of Mcky. 
Use Macky rather as your vassal than as your companion ; and 
because they are usually proud and arrogant, let them know that you 
are their superior. Let Mcky his pincell [banner] never be displayed 
where yours is, whether you be personally present or some other 
having your place, let him have his pincell folded up when yours is 
displayed. Suffer not any clan or family in Sutherland to be so bold 
as to make particular conventions and meetings of their own for any 
cause whatsoever without your special attollerance and command. 

" There be two chief things that are likely to breed discord 
betwixt you and Mcky which you shall endeavour in all haste to 
remedy, if it be not done before your majority. The one is your 
marches ; the other is the warrandice of Strathnaver, whereunto your 
father did tie himself in the infeftment granted by him to Macky the 
year JMV1C six years. I doubt not but Mcky by virtue of this 
warrandice will press to deprive you if he can of the superiority of 
Strathnaver, that he may hold of the king ; which to remedy you shall 
urge the minute of Achindore, passed betwixt your father (Earl John) 
and Mcky the year of God JMVIC therteen years. It will compell 
Macky to renounce the warrandice if he refuse to do it willingly ; 
which if he do not, then do you remove him from the lands of 
Durness, wherof he has no right as yet, but a little ticket of your 
father's subscribed by him upon his death-bed, which will not avail 
much by law — I suspect that the Lord Forbes lost this minute. 
Press to keep Macky himself rather than his countrymen ; if you have 


Macky you shall have them ; if you want him, they can little profit 
you. The contrary hereof you shall observe with Caithness. If you 
may purchase the love of the inhabitants of that country, you shall 
care the less for the earl's friendship or favour. . . . 

" There is one other matter which may breed a jar betwixt you 
and Macky, depending of the forenamed warrandice, which is this : — 
Houcheon Macky of Farr had a daughter by his first wife, the Earl of 
Caithness his daughter. Houcheon married also Jane Gordon, 
daughter of Alexander Earl of Sutherland by whom he had Sir 
Donald Macky. Houcheon having served himself heir to his father 
Iy Macky, by a precept of dare constat given him by Alexander Earl 
of Sutherland to that effect, he resigned Strathnaver unto his superior 
Earl Alexander his hands, for anew infeftment to himself and to his 
son, Sir Donald. This new infeftment was given by Earl Alexander 
without warrandice. Your father Earl John renews this infeftment 
to Houcheon Macky and to his son Sir Donald, with warrandice, 
wherethrow proceeds all this controversy. The question is, Whether 
Houcheon Macky was infeft in the lands of Strathnaver before he did 
renounce the same in his superior's hands. If he was infeft or served 
heir to his predecessores (as I am assured he was) you are safe 
enough ; and this you may know by Henry Fermer his protocool, 
which is among your father's writs. If Houcheon Macky was not 
infeft, or that his s«asing cannot be found, then you are in danger 
thus : — 

" The lawful heirs of Iy Macky (father to Houcheon) may serve 
themselves heirs unto the said Iy Macky whereby they may evict the 
lands of Strathnaver from the heirs of Sir Donald, who may return 
back upon you for warrandice ; and Sir Donald his heirs agreeing 
with the heirs of Iy Macky, may so cause you renounce the superiority 
of these lands, for to be red of the warrandice. I can percieve no 
remedy to prevent this, but either to defend yourself with the minute 
of Achindore (if it can be found) against the heirs of Sir Donald, or 
else to reduce Sir Donald his last infeftment granted by your father ; 


which may be reduced, because fas I think) his seasing and his 
infeftment do not agree. For his seasing is united and taken in one 
place, which union is not in the infeftment. If this cannot help you, 
then you must agree for some composition of money with the heirs of 
Iy Macky if they do appear ; which I wish you rather to do than to 
renounce the superiority of Strathnaver. The heir of Iy Macky is 
either Christian Macky, daughter to the said Houcheon by the Earl 
of Caithness his daughter, which Christian died without children ; or 
else the heirs of Angus Macky, the grandfather (or the great- 
grandfather) of the said ly Macky, who can hardly be found out ; and 
tho' they were found, their claim is now lost by prescription I hope. 
Sir Donald Macky hath neither served nor doth not intend to serve 
himself heir to his father or grandfather. 

" There is one other remedy which you may use to free yourself 
from Macky his warrandice, and this is it. Bishop Iteid of Orkney 
obtained a gift of Strathnaver before the Earl of Huntly by reason of 
Donald Macky his bastardy, which gift of Huntly is the ground of 
Iy Macky his claim. This former right was bought by your father 
from Bishop Reid's heirs, and the gift was taken in my name. Keep 
this right quiet until you do see yourself straited by the other, and 
then defend yourself thereby as you can. If there be any defect in 
Bishop Reid his right by law, press to amend it before you have to 
do therewith. But I hope (God willing) to end these controversies 
with Macky if I can possibly. . . 

"Use your diligence to take away the reliquies of the Irish 
barbarity which as yet remains in your country, to wit, the Irish 
language, and the habit. Purge your country piece and piece from 
that uncivil kind of clothes, such as plaids, mantles, truses, and 
blew bonnets. Make severe acts against those that shall wear 
them, etc., etc." 

No. 37. A Deed by which Sir Hector Munro of Fowlis bestows 


Eeay Papers. 


upon his spouse Marie McKy, youngest sister of Donald, 1st Lord 
Reay, a life-rent interest in certain specified lands, dated 20 Sep. and 
8 Dec, 1635 :— 

At Newmoir the tuenti day of September, and at Durness ye 
eight day of December, the zeir of God MVIC threitie five zeirs, it is 
contracted appoyntit finallie endid and agreed betwixt the partis 
following, to wit, ane noble Lord, Donald Lord Eeay, taking on and 
upon him and his airis the full burding of Dame Marie McKy, his 
lawful sister and spouse to Colonell Sir Hector Munro of Fowlis, 
Knyt. baronet, to ye effect underwrittin, in ye ane pairt, And ye said 
Colonell Sir Hector Monro with consent of Robert Monro, Obsdaill, 
appairent air maill and of tailzie to ye said colonell, and ye said 
Robert for himself, on ye uther pairt, in maner and effect as efter 
specified. That is to say, forasmeikle as there was ane contract of 
marriage of ye dait at Tung the tuentie nynt day of Decembre, MVIC 
auchtene zeirs, maid endit and subscryvit betwix ye said noble Lord, 
yr'in stylit Sir Donald McKy of Strathnaver, Knyt, for himself and 
taking the burding on and upon him of ye said Dame Marie McKy 
his youngest sister with her awin consent on ye ane pairt, And the 
said Colonell Sir Hector Monro of Fowlis, yairin stylit Hector Monro 
of Alynes, on ye uther pairt, Be vertew yr'of ye marriage then 
contracted and yr 'efter solenmizat betwix ye said Colonell Sir Hector 
and his said spouse, the said colonell infeft ye said Dame Marie 
McKy, his said spouse, in lyfrent in all and sundrie ye lands of 
Meikle and Littlie Alynes, with ye mylne yr'of, mini croft, multures, 
and sequelles of ye same, with ye haill pairtis, pendicles, and 
pertinents of ye said lands, lyand within ye regalitie of Spynie 
earldom of and shrefdom of Inverness, as ye said contract 

of ye dait forsaid and infeftments following yr'upon purports. Since 
ye making of ye qlk contract of marriage and infeftments following 
yr'upon, the said Colonell Sir Hector Monro sold and disj^onit the 
foresaid lands of Alynes Meikle and Little, with ye miln yr'of and 


yr. pertinents, to ye qlk disposition the said Dame Marie McKy gave 
her consent and renuncit hir lyfrent ryt in ye favor of ye person qr' 
into the said lands and miln were disponit, in recompence and 
satisfactione of ye qlk renuneiatione umqll. Colonell Robert Monro of 
Foullis and ye said Colonell Sir Hector Monro his brother, be ye 
band subscryvit with yr. hand, oblest them conjnnctlie and severally, 
yr. airs, exers., successors, and assignivis, to content and pay to ye 
said Dame Marie McKy the soume of ane thousand merks usuall 
Scottis money zeirlie, during her lyfetyme efter ye said Colonell Sir 
Hector his decise, in case at ye plesor of God she outlive him, in 
maner and forme meutionat in ye band maid yr'on as ye same more 
fullie proportis. And now seeing at ye plesor of God the said 
Colonell Sir Hector Monro succedis to his said umqll. brother in ye 
haill lands leiving and baronie of Foulis, sua that resone Avoid he 
sould provyt his said spouse to ane reasonabill and competent leiving 
effering to her estate, ranke and place ; Therfor for ye love and favor 
the said Colonell Sir Hector pntlie. caries towards the said Dame 
Marie McKy his said spouse, and in satisfactione and contenting of 
all benefite she may claim or crave of her said spouse, his airis, and 
successors, alsweil be vertew of ye said contract of mairage and 
infeftment of ye said lands of Alynes following yr'on with ye band 
givin to her be ye said umqll. Colonell Robert Monro and be ye said 
Colonell Sir Hector her spouse, as of all terce of qt'sumever the said 
Col. Hector his lands, baronies, fyshings, and heretages qr'in he sail 
happin to dccis cast, vest, and seasit, qlk in law may befall to her be 
or threw her husband's decis in case she sail happin to outlive him. 
The said Col. Sir Hector be thir presents binds and obleiss him his 
airis maill and successors, with all convenient diligence, to purchase 
procure and obtein themselves dewlie and lawfullie infeft and seast in 
all and haill ye lands and baronies of Foulis with ye pertinents yr'of 
qt'sumever, and to secure ye teind sheves of ye same . The 

said Col. Sir Hector heirby obleys him and his frinds immediately 
yr'efter to dewlie and lawfullie infeft and sease be charter and sesing, 

Eeav Papers. 


titulo in dew and competent forme, the forsaid Dame Marie 

McKy in lyfrent for all the dayes of her lyftyme in all and haill the 
lands of Carbystell and Teaninver, with ye coble fyshing of Teaninver 
, lyand in Strath-Okell, within ye baronie of Foulis and 
sherfdom of Inverness, &c. 

No. 38. Resignation of the wadset of Skelpick and Renevy by 
Seaforth to Donald, 1st Lord Reay, 27 June, 1637 :— 

Be it kent till all men be yr. present letter, We George erle of 
Seafort, Lord of Kintail, of air maill servit and retourit to umql. 
Coline, earle of Seafort, our brother, forasmeikle as according to ane 
contract and appoyntment of ye dait at Cromartie ye 28 day of 
Septembre, the zeir of God 1626 zeirs, maid and subscryvit betwix 
my said umql. brother on the ane part and ane nobill lord, Donald 
Lord of Rae, thairin designat Sir Donald McKy of Strathnaver, knyt, 
lord, colonell, on ye uther part, for ye sume of 7000 merks usual 
money of thir realme restand awand be ye said nobill lord as prnill., 
and be my said umql. as cautioner to the persens underwrittin, ilk 
ane for yr. awne pairts yr.of in maner efter devydit ; To umql. James 
Haliburtoune, merchant, burgess of Edinburgh, the sume of 1000 
punds money ; and to Mr Robert Munro, minister at ye kirk of Far, 
yr'in designit minister at Duranes, the sume of 5500 merkes forsaid. 
My said umql. brother at least be ane band givin to ye said nobill 
lord, Donald Lord of Rae, bound and oblej r st him to stent and pay 
the said several sumes to ye forsaids twa persones, ilk ane for yr. 
aw in pairt yr'of as is before devydit, and that at the terme of 
Witsunday nixt thereafter following, in the zeir of God 1627 zeirs, 
and to report and delyver to ye said umql. lord the said bands, at 
least sufficient dylrances yr'upone as yr. band in and be my said 
umql. brother yranent proportis. The said Donald, Lord of Rae, for 


securitie to my said umql. brother of ye said soumes of 7000 merkes, 
be his charter contening yr'in precept of seasing with instrument of 
seasing following yr'on infeft and seast ray said umql. brother his airis 
maill and assignies qt. sumever in all and heall the said nobill lord 
his lands of Skelpick, extending to twa davach of land, and in all and 
heall the lands of Reyndvie, extending to ane davach land, with 
houses, etc., lyand within the baronie of Far and shrefdome of 
Inverness, Redemabill always fra my said umql. brother his airis 
maill and assignies on payment making of ye said sume of 7000 
merkes, and ye heall byrune dewties of ye sume of 700 merkes 
contenit in ane tak of ye saids woodsett lands, pertaining to ye said 
nobill lord, qlk sould happin to be restand awand tyme of ye 
redemption, as ye said contract of ye dait foresaid charter and 
instrument of seasing following yr'upon sicklyke mair fnllie proportis. 
And now seeing since the decease of our said umql. brother the said 
nobill lord has be his precept of seasing with instrument of seasing 
following yr'upon infeft and seast we as air maill to our said umql. 
brother in all and heall the saids woodsett lands, we have guid 
and undoubted right to grant the redemption and renunciation 
underwrittin, and lykwayes that ye said lord has substantlie at ye 
making heirof payit and delyverit to Mr Murdo Mackenzie, persone of 
Contane, as our nomine, for ye lawfull redemptioning of ye said 
woodsett lands all and heall the said sume of 7000 merkes money 
forsaids, togethir with the zearlie tak dewtie of 700 merkes money 
furth the forsaid woodsett, Of ye qlk sume principall and tak dewtie 
we hold us weall contcntit satisfied and payit the 27 

June, 1637, before the witnesses, Kenneth Mackenzie of Skatell, Mr 
Murdo Mackenzie, persone of Contene, Wm. Lauder, shrf.-clerk 
of Ros. 

No. 39. Erection of the parish of Kintail, afterwards known as 

Beat Paters 


Tounge, by agreement between Donald, 1st Lord Reay, and John 
Abernethy, Bishop of Caithness, 10 Apr., 1638 : — 

At Thurso the tenth day of April], the zeir of God ane thousand 

six hundred threttie aught zeirs, It is agreit betwixt the honl. 

pairtyes following, they are to say, ane reverend father Johne, be the 

mercie of God Bischope of Cathnes, with consent of the deane and 

chapter of the Cathedral kirk , for the love and zeal qlk the 

saids parties lies and carries to plant the Gospell, and for the better 

edificatione of the people remaining and that sail be heireefter within 

the countrie of Strathuaver ; And although that there hes bein but 

twa parochines of aulde in the countrie in tyme of poperie, and since 

of late in or awne tyme thair are bot twa ministers serveing the said 

twa kirks, we find it ane work impossible for twa pastores to thrine 

(sic) that wyde and spacious bounds so far seprat from uther be 

mountains, rocks, watters, creiks, and loches, of salt as freshe water, 

And albeit the valeautione of the heale countrie was givin upe be the 

said Donald Lord Rave to the commissioners as two parochines, to 

witt, Far and Ardurnes, and the sume of five hundred mcrks 

Scots the saids kirks present, and at annie ret we 

think it meitest (?) both to the glorie of God and for the weill of the 

people as also for the better and ministering of the sacraments, that 

pairt be takin of the parochine of Farr and pairt from the paroehine 

of Ardurnes, and that there sail be ane third parochine erected in the 

middest of the countrie in Kiutaill, and the kirk of Kirkeboll to be the 

paroehc kirk of the said parochine to be erected as said is. And that 

the said kirk sail be furnished with ane sufficient minister with all 

possible diligence, and he to have the soame of five hundred merks 

Scots money of stipend together with ane gleibe and ane manse, the 

qlk five hundred merks money to be payit as follows, viz., two 

hundred and fifty merks to be taken of the stipend of the said 

parochine of Far, and the uther two hundred and fifty merks money 

as said is to be takin of the stipend of the paroehine of Ardurness, to 


witt, the sum of tuentie nine merks money fovsaid of ilk davache 
land, as they wer valued and tinen up, with the devision that the 
said Donald Lord Ray and the thrie ministers sail devyid equallie 
and finally the same up under their hand wreat. And the said 
reverend father for himself and his successors, and the said Donald 
Lord Raye for himself and his aires and successors consentis that any 
sail compeir in ther name befoir the lords of commissioners for 
or befoir the lords of parliament, to crawe and obteine 
ther decreit and act of ratificatione of the said devision of the twa 
parochines of Far and Ardurnes into thrie parochines, and partitioun 
of the stipends thairof, as said is ; consenting this present act be 
insert registrat in the presbitrie books of Cathnes, thairin to remain 
ad futuram rei memoriam, as that at the first siuod thair may be ane 
act maid upon the premises in forme as effeires. 

J. B. of Caithnes. 
Johne Sinclair of Asserie. 
D. Reay. 
Hector Munro, Eriboll. 

Reay Papers 

No. 40. Bond of Friendship betwixt George, Earl of Seaforth, 
and Donald, 1st Lord Reay, 7 June, 1639 : — 

Be it kenit till all men be thir present Ires., Us George, Earl of 
Seafort, and Donald, Lord Reay, considering how warrandable it is 
be the word of God and lawes of this kingdom that his Majesties 
good and loyall subjects may legally uneit and joyne themselves 
togedder in friendshipe, and being persuaded yat our connection and 


keiping of friendshipe may everie mutche tende to the advancement 
of religion, the king's Majesties service, and the keeping of peace and 
tranquillitie in the places where we live and have our being ; 
Considering lykeways yt. our mutual freindship under God and our 
soueraigne lord the king's Majestie may very much conduce to the 
particular weill and standing of either our houses and families and to 
the good of all our freinds vassalls and tennants, Therefor out of thir 
good and legall considerations and for conservation of trowe and 
solide freindshipe betwixt us our airs and successours in all tyme 
coming, Wit ye us to have entered and becom, lykas we be the tenour 
hereof enters and becomes, in the real trew and legall bond of ametie 
love and freindshipe togedder, faythfully obliging us our airs and 
successours forsayds uppon our fayth and honour hinc hide to others 
to keep the samen remain and contenoue thereuntill in all tyme 
coming, And to that effect be our selss, our kyne, freinds, vassalls, 
tennants, follouirs, and dependers, and be our best airte and counsall 
to legally efectullye trewlie and faythfully assist, manteine and defend 
others in all and quhatsumever our lawfull honest just and richtous 
affairs business actions and quarrells quatsuinever, in so far as law 
will allcnarly and no otherways (all matters which may concern the 
king and his Majestios successours being always excepted), And yt. 
Ave sail heer nor see any trouble, prejudere, harme, or skaith intended 
or done against any of us our kyne, freinds, our vasssalls, in our 
persouns, honour, lands, countrey, goods, or gear bot sail in ane 
lauful maner mak others forseen thereof with all dilligence, and 
legally impeid and obviat the sam according to our power. And to 
the effects yt. this band of freindship may be the better observed in 
succeiding aiges, it is our will and pleasour yt after our deceis the 
same sail be lawfully renued be our airs and successours fra tyme to 
tyme ; promeising hereby yt. in tyme convenient we sail mak the 
premisses known to our kyne and freinds to the intent the same 
may be the better observed. At Chanonrie the seventh day of 
Junii, JMVIC threttie nyne yeers, before thir witness, Hucli. 


MacKy of Edrachilis, and Mr Murdoch McKenzie, minister of 

Con tan e. 

Jo. Mky of Dilrett. D. Reay. 

William Macky Jo. McKeay. 

of Bighouse. 
Hew Macky, 
sone to Johne Macky. 
H. Macky, witness. 
Murdo McKenzie, witness. 

No. 41. Letter by John, 2nd Lord Reay, to King Charles II : — 

Strachnaver the 22 April, 1654. 

scot. hist. Most Sacred Soyerane, Upone your Majesty's Levtennant- 

Generall's landinge in Schotlande, I did iminediatlye aplye my selfe 

to him, and for the securitie of his persoue and advancement of your 

Majesties service, I did immediatlye rayse in armis with such a power 

as was not oneley sufficientt for a guard to him, bot lyckwayes 

served to promove your Majesties service in the adjacent peartis by 

raisinge forsses till my Lord Glenkarne's did come, beinge at ane 

grytte distance. It heas, and shall ever be my chiefest zeall without 

privett ends to advance your Majesties interest, in which the weill 

beinge of all your subjcctis is wrapped up. Ther is nothiuge under 

heaven soe much coveted by me as your Majesties presence in this 

your auncient kingdom off Schotlande. I schall leave perticullaris 

which maey indousce your Majesty to make us happie by aperinge 

amongest us to thois whome it consernes to give ane accounte, and 

whome I know will doe it with much fathfullnes. Haveinge not as 

yet reseaved your Majesties former commands sentt with Normande 

M'Cloude, I schall onlye say that none off your Majesties subjectis 

heas pout one a moir fixed ressolustionc to seiff youe then, Most 



Sacreitt Soverane, Your Majesties moste fathfuill and moste obedieutt 
subject and servantt, Reay. 

Addressed . . . For the Kings most sacred Majestie theis. 

No. 42. Articles of Agreemext between General Monck and 
John, 2nd Lord Reay, 18 May, 1655 : — 

scot. hist. Articles of Agreement made and concluded the eighteenth day of 

May, 1655, between the Right Honorable Generall Monck, 
commander-in-chief of the forces in Scotland, for and on behalfe of 
his Highnesse the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, 
Scotland, and Ireland on the one parte, and Hugh Mackey, for and 
on behalfe of the Right Honourable John, Lord Rea, and his partie 
on the other parte : — 

" Itt is agreed and concluded that the Lord Rea shall, together 
with all horsemen of his partie included in this capitulation, repaire 
or come to such place neere Invernesse as Collonel Fitch shall 
appointe within twentie eight dayes next after signeing of these 
present articles, and then and there deliver upp theire amies to 
Collonell Fitch, to whome they are to give notice twenty fower 
howers before theire approach. 

" That the Lord Rea shall give security of two thousand pounds 
bond to the saide Collonel Fitch within 14 dayes after his parties 
delivering upp theire armes, for his and his friends and followers 
peaceable deportment to his Highnesse the Lord Protector and the 
Commonwealth of England and his successors. And that Hugh 
MacKey of Dilrcd, Hugh McKey of Scowry, Robert McKey, Donald 
McKey, and William MacKey shal be bounde in the bond, and shall 
have protection from arrests whilst they come in to enter in to bond 
as aforesaide. And that George, Master of Rea, sone to the said 


Lord Rea, shall, when the commander-in-cheefe in Scotland shall 
desire it, bee sent to and reside at such of the universities in 
Scotland as the Lord Rea shall choose for the performance of these 
articles ; and that such others included in this capitulation of the 
saide Lord Rea's forces or partie as have estates in land or were 
officers under him, shall give good security for theire peaceable 
deportment, a lieutenant-colonel in the summe of three hundered 
pounds, a majour two hundered pounds, a captain in one hundered 
pounds, a lieutenant or cornet in sixty pounds, and an ensigne in fifty 
pounds, and the privat souldjours shall give theire engagements to- 
the like purpose. 

" That the officers shal bee at liberty to march away with theire 
horses and swords, and the privat souldjours with theire horses, to- 
theire respective habitations or places of aboade, where they are to' 
sell theire horses within three weekes to theire best advantage ; and 
both officers and souldjours are to have passes from Collonel Fitch to 
goe to theire homes. And that the said Lord Rea and his friends 
and followers shall have liberty to carry theire amies for theire owne 
defence against broken men and theeves within theire owne 

" That the saide Lord Rea, together with all those of his partie 
included in this capitulation, whether officers, privat souldjours, or 
servants under his Lordship, who have not kil'd men in could bloud, 
shall enjoy theire estates, both real and personall, without any trouble 
or molestation, auy act or thing by them formerly done in reference 
to the late warrs betweene England and Scotland since the yeare 
1648 notwithstanding, they submitting to all common burthens equall 
with others of the nation. Provided that such of Lord Rea's partie 
as have any lands in Ireland that are already disposed of by Act of 
Parliament, his Highnesse, or his Council!, or the Lord Deputy and 
Councill in Ireland, are not to have or claime them by vertue of these 
Articles, but what lands of theires are not disposed of they are to 
have and enjoy. 


" That the Lord Rea shal bee remitted his whole by-past sesse till 
the first of September last, from which tyme hee is to pay it in 
according to his proportion. And that whensover Collonel Fitch, or 
other officers commanding in Caithnesse or Invernesse, shall have 
occasion to send for the Lord Rea about publicque affaires, his 
Lordship shall passe and repasse without arresting or molestation by 
messingers at amies. 

"That all such horsemen of the saide Lord Rae's partie who shall 
conceale or willingly imbeazle theire amies, and not bring them in to 
Collonel Fitch according to this agreement, shall loose the benefitt of 
these Articles. 

" That in case there bee any howse or howses of strength within 
the Lord Rea's bounds that the commauder-in-cheefe in Scotland 
shall require to be guarrison'd, the Lord Rea shall by these articles 
bee engaged to deliver upp the same. 

" That these. Articles shal bee rattified by his Highnesse the Lord 
Protector and his Councill, and delivered to the Lord Rea, or whome 
hee shall appointc, within three monthes after the date hereof. 

Sealed and signed in presence of :- 
Thos. Pride. Wm. Clarke. 
Mathew Lock." 

George Monck. 
Hugh MacKey. 

No. 43. Tack of the parsonage and vicarage tcinds of the 
parishes of Farr, Kintail, and Durness, by Patrick Forbes, Bishop of 
Caithness, to John Lord Reay, 5 May and 1 June, 1G65. 

reav Papers. Re it kend till all men be thir present lettres, Us Patrick, be 
the mercie of God Bischope of Cathnes, for certane soumes of niony 
others gratitudis pleasurs and good deids payit made and done to us 


for makeing of thir pnttis, iu name of entres and grassume, be ane 
Noble Lord, John Lord of Reay, heritnr of the lands nndervreitne, off 
the qlk. soume we hold us fullie satisfied and payed, And rynuncing 
all exceptions in the contrar simplir. discharges the said Johne Lord 
Reay and all others whom it effeirs of the resett of the said soumes 
for ever ; Thairfoir and for others guid and reasonable causes and 
considerationes moveing us, with the speall. advyse and consent of 
the Deane and Chapter of our cathedral kirke of Caithnes, the weill 
and utilitie of us and our successors bischopis of Caithnes always 
forseine and considerit, To Have sett and in tacks and assedations 
lattne, Lykas we be the tennor hereof with advyse and consent 
forsaid Settis and iu tack and assedatione lattis to the said Johne 
Lord of Reay, his aires successors and assignayes, All and sundrie the 
teynds great and small, both personadge and vicaradge, of all and 
haill the tounes and landis of Houpe, Madness and Strath thr'of, 
Kenlochis, Rubigill, Kensett, Scrabustir, Farlonset, Kirkeboll, Tongue 
and Strath thairof, Caldoubakie, Scourlomie, Lattircs Lcngyll, 
Borgnioir, Toirsdaill, Skerra, Ulanroana, Ulandcolnie, lllangyll, 
Emboli, Illandchorrie, Hulleime, Arnniboll, Strath-Hurridaill con- 
taining the lands of Mussed and Blaet, with the gressings, pairts and 
pendicles of the saids lands, lyand within the parochines of Duirnes 
and Kirkiboll rexve., And also of all and haill the tounis and landis 
of Kirtomie, Swordaillie, Schanachie, Rescarpe, Schraske, and the 
east syd of the Clanuylen of Farr, lyeing within the paroche of Fair, 
with the haill pairts, pendicles, outsetts, gressings, shicllings, anexis, 
connexis, dependancies, and universall pertinents of the samyn, lyand 
as said is within the saids porocheis of Duirnes, Farr, and Kirkiboll 
rexve., within our diocie of Caithnes, whilk is proper part of our said 
bischoprike somtyme within the shireffedome of Invernes, and now 
errectit within the shireffdome of Sutherland — whilk tynd great and 
small pertains to us as ane proper pairt of the patriemonie of our said 
bischoprik — And that for all the space, cropts, yeirs, and termes of 
uyneteine yeirs nixt and imediatly followeing the feast and tearme of 


Lambmes nixtocom, in this instant yeir of God jaiVic and threescoir 
four yeirs, whilk is and shall be the said Johne Lord of Reay and his 
forsaids entres to this pnt. tacke, And fra thynefurth to continow and 
induire aye and whill the saids nyneteine yeirs be compleitlie endit 
and outrune. With pouer to the said Johne Lord of Reay and his 
forsaids duireing the haill yeirs and space abovewreitne to collect, 
gather, uplift, receave, lead away, intromit with, use, and dispone 
upon the teyndis great and small both personadge and vicaradge off 
the haill lands and vthers above speit., inhibitiones yeirlie yr'upon to 
raise, the spulziers, awaytakers, detayners, and witholders to call 
follow and persew, with frie isch and entrie thrto, And with all and 
sindrie vther liberties, privilcdges, friedomes, comodities, easements, 
and rightious pertinents of the samyn frielie, queyetlie, weill, and in 
peace, bot any obstackle, impediment, or againe-calling whatsumevir. 
Payand therfor yeirlie the said Johne Lord of Reay and his forsaids 
duireing the haill space and yeirs forsaid, to us and our successors 
bischops of Caithness, for all and sindrie the said teyindis great and 
small both personadge and vicaradge of the forsaids lands and others 
above wreitne with the pertinents All and Haill, the soume of fourtie 
merks usual scotis mony at the termes in the yeir Peasch and 
Lambmie be equal portiones, beginand the first terme's payment yr'of 
at the feast and terme of Peasch, in the yeir of God jaiVic three scoir 
fyve yeirs, and sua furth yeirlie duireing the space of this pnt. tack, 
And that for all other exactione maybe askit or requeyrit thrfor. 
and also the said Johne Lord Reay and his forsaids being allwayis 
bound and oblisit to content and pay, duireing this tacke to the 
ministers serueing at ye cuire of the kirkis of the abovewreitne 
parodies rexve., ane or mae, the just proportionall pairts of ther 
yeirlie steipends conform to the lands teynds vicaradge and others 
above spcit. And we, forsuith, and our successors sail warrand and 
defend this our lettres of tacke and assedatione of all and sindrie the 
teynds great and small of the lands and vthers abovewritne to 
the said Johne Lord of Reay and his forsaids, duireing the haill space 


and yeirs abovewreitne in all and be all things as is above mentioned 

fra our owne proper fact and deid allernerlie, agains all mortall as law 

will, in sich sort that we have not done nor heirefter sail doe 

anything in prejudice of the premiss. In Witness of the whilk 

thing to yir pnts. (wreitne be Gilbert Omand, not. public) subscryvit 

with our hand, and be the said Dean and Chapter of our said 

cathedral kirke in tokne of thir consent, At Dornoch on ye fyft daye 

of Maii and ye first day of Junii, the yeir of God jaiVic and three 

scoir fyve yeirs, our proper seall and the Chapter seall of our said 

Kirke ar heirto appendit befor thir witnessis, James McKy in Strathie, 

Mr Hew Monro, minister at Ardurnes, and Robert Farquhar, servitor 

to the said Bishop of Caithnes. 

Pa. B. Cathnes. 
Ja. Mackay, witness. Mr D. Monro, Will. Davidson, 
Ro. Farquhar, witness. Tresourer of Dean. 

Caithnes. Alexr. Gibsoune, 
Hugh Monro, Archdeacon, 

witness. John Dempster, 

William MacKy, 

Keay Papers. 

No. 44. Bond of Friendship betwixt Kenneth, Earl of Seaforth, 
and John, 2nd Lord Reay, 4 July, 1672 : — 

Wee Kenneth, Earl of Seafortt, and John Lord Reay takeing to 
consideration that the grete ty of so uere a relation by blood as wee 
have to other, together with ye constant kindness and good correspon- 
dence yt. was still betwixt us and our predecessors, for further 
secureing and establishment of these bonds and as suitable affection 
thereupon, wee doe hereby bind our sclfs on faith and honor mutually 
to maintain and entertain ye said friendship in all points and on all 
occasions (with submission and obedience to his Majesties authority 

P. C. REG. 


and laws alwayes) ; And in prosecution thereof to owne on anothers 

intrest faithfully and cordially, and yt. wee shall cause our kinsmen 

freends and vassalls and followers to observe ye like freendly 

correspondence, and particularly yt. none of us shall buy pleas or 

debts nor have wee bought any against oyr., nor entertayn theeves or 

robbers yt. wrongs eyr. of us or our kinsmen freends vassalls or 

followers, nor afford shelter in our country to any who is declared or 

behaves as enimies to eyr. of us ; But on the contrar to prosecut the 

enimies of these or. freinds and to apprehend them and to deliver 

them to those offended by ym. on representation made to uther of us 

by the party offended, and in generall to doe and carry wt. other in 

tyme of peace or warr as faithfull freends with submission to his 

Majesties authority on our soules and honours. Witnes these written 

at Achmore in Assin ye 4 of July, Jaivic seventy two, before these 

witnesses, Sr. Donald McDonald of Sleatt, Archibald McDod. of 

Borrinescittack, Thomas Fraser of Beaufort, Hugh Fraser Belladrum, 

Hector Monro of Obstell, Hector Monro of Killein, Hugh Monro of 

Ereboll, Alexander McKenzie of Garloch, Colline McKenzie of 

of Reedcastle, Kenneth McKenzie of Sudily, Angus McKy of 

Mealeness, Hugh McKy of Bighouse, Capt. William McKy tutor of 

Scoury, Robert McKy in Aclines, and Sr. George McKenzie of 


Sic subscribitur. 

No. 45. Letters of Fire & Sword granted by the king, at the 
instance of Lord Reay and others, dated 3 Sep., 1GG8 : — 

Letters of Fire and Sword granted by King Charles II. at the 
instance of John Lord Reay, Hugh Munro of Emboli, William Munro 
his brother, Dame Barbara McKy Lady Reay, and McKy, 

spouse to the said Hugh Munro of Emboli, for themselves and in 
name and behalf of the remanent kin and friends of the deceased 


Hector and William McKy &c, against William Sinclair of Dunbeath, 
John Sinclair of Murkle, John Gun his servitor, and Donald Forbes 
servitor to Dunbeath, who were orderlie denounced rebels for not 
compearing before the Lords Justices upon the 24 November last, 
conform to criminal letters issued against them, for convening 
themselves with about 1200 others of the shire of Caithness, and 
invading in March last the sheriffdom of Sutherland and Strathnaver 
with fire and sword and committing great spoil, and also for the 
slaughter of umquhill William McKy of Scoury in February last, and 
for the murder of umquhill Hector McKy of Scourie his brother, upon 
the 11th day of August last by shooting him in several parts of the 
body &c. And thereafter constitute and appoint Archibald, Earl of 
Argyle, George, Earl of Caithness, Campbell of Glenurchie, Sir John 
Munro of Fowlis, the Laird of Balnagown, Sir George Muuro, Captain 
William McKy of Borlie, and Sir Robert Gordon of Embo, 
commissioners, with full power for convocating the lieges and 
searching for taking and apprehending the said persons, and in case 
of resistance or hostile oppossition to pursue them to death &c. 
Dated at Edinburgh 3rd day of December, 1668. 

Reay Papers. 

No. 46. Disposition in a liferent of the lands of Coulnafearn 
&c. by Murdo Mackay in Carnach to his wife Jane, daughter of 
Captain William Mackay of Borley, 17 Sep., 1681 : — 

Me Murdo MacKy in Carnach, heritable proprietor of the lands 
and grassings under descrybed with their pertinents : Forasmeikle as 
be contract matrimonial made ended and perfyted betwixt me on the 
ane pairt, and Captain William MacKy of Borley for himself and as 
burdentaker for Jane MacKy, his laull. daughter now my spouse, on 
the oyr. pairt, of the dait 167 ycirs, I was obleidged to infeft and 
saise be charter and sufficient titulo the said Jane MacKy my spouse 



in lyfrent during all the clays of her lyftyme, and the airs laullie. to be 
gotten betwixt me and her in fie, in the principal sowme of 2000 
merks usual Scots money, as the said contract of the said dait forsaid 
containing severall heids articles and clauses in itself at mair length 
bears. Wherefore (bot prejudice of the said oyr. thousand merks 
contained in the said contract), and for the love and favour qlk. I 
have and bear to the said Jane MacKy and Robert MacKy, my oldest 
lawfull son procreat betwixt me and her of the said marriage, and for 
other good causes and considerations moveing me herto, Witt ye me 
to have sold and anuailzied and disponed, Lykas be thir pnts., under 
the reservations underwritten and no other ways, sell anailzie and 
dispone to the said Jane MacKy, my said spouse, in lyferent during 
all the days of her lyfetyme, and the said Robert by my said spouse 
his airs and assignies, in fie heritably and irredeemably all and heall 
the lands and grassings of Coulnafearn and west side of Strabegg, 
the lands and grassings of Drimrinnie, Tobbernanuiskeach and 
Anloane, pairts and pendicles and pertinents of the samen, Lyand 
Avithin the sherifdome of Sutherland and baronies of Kintail and 
Durness respt. &c. 

At Farr the 17 day of Sep., 1681. Witnesses, Maister Donald 
Macintosh, minister at Farr, Donald Macmarcus, schoolmaster yr. 

Eeay Papers. 

No. 47. Will and Disposition of David Nicholson in Torrisdale 
and his spouse, in favour of Donald, Master of Reay, 5 June, 1710 : — ■ 

Know all men by thir pnt. lettres, Us David Nicholson in 
Torrisdaill and Moar M'Ky, spouse, for the love and favour and 
dutiful respects we have and doth bear and carie towards Donald, 
Master of Reay, Therefor, and for diverse and sundry onerous causes 
and weighty considerations moving us to the granting hereof, Witt 
you us to have sold, assigned, and disponed, likeas we sell asigne and 


dispone by these from us our heirs exers. and all others our assignies, 
to and in special favours of the said Donald, Master of Reay, his 
heirs or assignies, All and sundrie our whole movable goods, gear, 
comes, horses, mairs, staigs, foals, oxen, steers, cows young and old, 
stirks, calves, sheep, yows, wedders, rams, lambs, goats, kids, insight 
plenishing, outainsell, and dominsells, all debts due to us by word or 
write by whatsoever person or persons, within or without the shy re, 
somes of money lying beside us, silver, gold, jewels, coined or 
uncoined, and all other moveables presently belonging to us both, or 
what of the forsaid qualities or quantities may be acquired conquished 
by us and pertaining and belonging to us at the time of our decease 
&c. Subscribing at our command, because we cannot write ourselves, 
At Torisdail the 5 day of June 1710 yeirs, Before thir witnesses, 
Hector MacKy of Skerray, John MacKy taxmau of Strathtong, and 
John MackPhail, writer. 

No. 48. Extract of Letter with reference to the glebe of Farr, 
by the 3rd Lord Reay, dated 1/18 : — 

reay papers. " Donald Master of Reay [father of 3rd Lord Reay] gave to Mr. 
Donald Macintosh, his governour, when he was settled minister of 
Farr a tack of several lands whereof Ardbeg was a part, and the 
Master dying soon thereafter Mr. Macintosh keepied possession of all 
these lands till he was transported to Strathspey. Mr. John 
Macpherson succeeded him at Farr when the Lord Reay was abroad 
and a minor, and took possession of Ardbeg on pretence that Mr. 

Macintosh told him he had it as his glibe 

"A tack is found between Mr. Robert Munro, first minister of 
Farr, and Donald, Lord Reay, the first possessed heritor, by which he 
sets to the Lord Reay during his incumbency his glib and mainse in 
Skaile which are church lands, which plainly shows that Ardbeg 


never was the glib. Probably while the Lord Reays predecessors 
were sole heritors of that parish they might have given the minister 
lands near the church in exchange of his glib, which was at a distance 
from him. And here it is worth notice that in the time of popery the 
priest resided at Skaill &c." 

No. 49. Extract from a Document by the 3rd Lord Reay, 
regarding the erection of the parishes of Tongue, Durness, and 
Ederachillis, 14 ,1724:— 

beat papers. Be it know to all men by these presents, Us George, Lord Reay, 
forasmuch as upon our application to the General Assembly of the 
Church of Scotland representing the vast extent of the parish of 
Durness in Strathnaver, and the great need there was of more 
ministers for dispensing Gospel ordinances in that place, which having 
been concurred with by the Presbytery of Caithness and Synod of the 
boynds, The forsaid General Assembly by their act, dated 13 May 
1/21, did grant a recommendation for a voluntary contribution 
throught all the parishes of Scotland, to be gathered from house to 
house by the elders and deacons ; and appointed the procurator and 
agent for the Church to raise and carry on all processes needful for 
the erecting and settling as many parishes in the forsaid bounds as 
the said public collection then recommended and the teinds of the 
said parish would admit of. And there being already come in of the 
said collection the sum of 2G000 merks, and a decreet obtained before 
the Lords of Council and Session, commissioners appointed for the 
plantation of churches and valuation of teinds, Upon our consent 
Disponing the said parish of Durness and erecting the same into 
three parishes, viz., The bounds from the extremity of Torrisdale on 
the east to the extremity of Westmoin in the west, and from Straan- 
Mclnes in the north to Letterloyal towards the south, inclusive of all 


that bounds with the islands of Roan, Colm, and Rabbit, into one 
parish to be called the parish of Tounge, and that the church already 
built there be the church thereof. 

Secondly, the bounds from Westmoin in the east, including 
Hope and Freskell, to Keuldale in the west, and from Clashneach in 
the north to Strathnrradale in the south, all inclusive with the islands 
of Hoa and Chory, into another parish to be called the parish of 
Durness, and that the church already built there be the church thereof. 

Thirdly, the bounds from Glencule in the south to Tarbet in the 
north, and from Duartbeg in the west to Aultinrinnie in the east, with 
the island of Handa and the lands of Auldshoars inclusive of these 
bounds, into a third parish to be called the parish of Ederachilis, and 
that a church be built upon the ground there called Duartbeg. Also- 
ordaining that a manse for the minister of each of the said three 
several parishes be built near the respective churches with gleebs 

And Modifying and Localling the sum of 800 merles Scots money 
of stipend and 40 merks for furnishing communion elements to each 
of the forsaid three parishes to be paid in manner following, To witt r 
to the minister of the parish of Tongue 800 merks and the agrent of 
800 merks of the said collection ; Item, to the minister of the parish of 
Durness the sum of £100 Scots out of the teinds of the same and the 
agrent of 13,800 merks of the forsaid collection ; And to the minister 
of the parish of Ederachilis £180 Scots out of the teinds thereof, and 
the agrent of 11400 merks of the said collection for stipends and 
communion elements. In so far as concerns that part of the said 
stipends payable out of the teinds, being 1220 merks yearly, to be 
locally paid to the said respective ministers by us and our successors 
in the lands belonging to us within the above mentioned parishes, 
and other heritors therein, tenants, possessors, and intromiters with 
the rents and teinds thereof, and that yearly at two terms Whitsunday 
and Martinmas 

And we did further agree that, albeit the teinds of the said 


parishes in any valuation thereof to be led by us should happen to be 
found insufficient for the above stipends of 1220 merks modified, yet 
our lands and estate in the forsaid parishes should remain liable to 
the burden of these stipends conform to the said decreet &c. &c. 

Reay Papers 

No. 50. Letter by the Rev. William Wishart, Moderator of the 
General Assembly, to Lord Reay — regarding the proposed erection of 
the Presbytery of Tongue, 1 June, 1724 : — 

My Lord, Your Lordship's letter in April last directed to me and 
another from the Rev. Presbytery of Caithness concerning the design 
not only of erecting diverse new parishes, but also a new presbytery 
in your country and giving a geographical description of the bounds, 
was read in the General Assembly and the same gave great satisfaction 
to them, and it is hoped will very much encourage such as have not 
contributed to that excellent design yet to do it. The Assembly 
ordered me in their name to write a return to you in their name, as 
now I do, thanking and commending your Lordship for your christian 
charity and great zeal for promoting the interest of religion, and 
assuring your Lordship that they will do all they can on their part to 
encourage your Lordship's noble and excellent design in this matter. 

And as your Lordship's proposal about the parish of Assint's 
being a part of the new presbytery in your country, it seemed very 
plausible ; and though that parish be declared a part of the Presbytery 
of Gairloch, yet it is only temporary till the General Assembly should 
consider the matter. 

I pray the Lord may abundantly reward your Lordship and noble 
family for your pious and exemplary appearances for promoting 
religion. What your Lordship is doing in this matter will make your 
memory savoury to the godly in after generations as well as the 
present, and I hope the Lord will make up what you are pleased to 


bestow this way. And your Lordship will have much satisfaction 
and comfort upon a reflection of what you have done for the house 
and service of God and good of precious souls &c. 

William Wishart. 

Beat Papers. 

No. 51. Copy of Minute of the Presbytery of Tongue — regarding 
the designation of a glebe for the minister of Tongue, 9 Aug., 1731 : — 

At Tongue 9th August, 1731, Which day the Presbytery met &c. 
The Presbytery next proceeded to design a glebe, and having taken 
the oaths of three of the most knowing neighbours, viz., Murdoch and 
Neil MacKays, and Alexander MacAngus, tenants in Kirkiboll, in 
presence of Donald Mac-Eaniconil, officer to the Lord Reay for his 
Lordship's interest, did remove them and ordered them upon the said 
disposition to design a glebe, conform to the previous agreement 
betwixt my Lord Reay and the Presbytery, viz., That since the rents- 
of the whole country are payable out of grass and arable land together, 
and consequently that the acres and grass cannot be given in terms of 
law precisely, therefore each minister should have an equivalent of 
these acres and grass of one pennyland or £42 Scots rent, and the- 
quantity of land and grass ever to remain for a glebe and grass in the 
parish of Tongue. These meu having taken sufficient time returned 
and reported that they had laid aside the fields following, viz., The 
field called Clagin Mor, situated between the manse and the highway 
leading to the church, from south-east to north-west; Item, the field 
called Claginbeg, betwixt the said way and the field called Durin ; 
Item, the fourth fifth and sixth riggs of the said Durin, reckoning 
from the side nearest Claginbeg ; Item, the field called Rean-nardich- 
nahaglish ; Item, the upper Farthing of Raonnacaorach, containing 
the Cairalech, Magin Pheadar, and four riggs of the field called 
Glaicaraonmhoir (?), reckoning from the side nearest the way leading 


to Tongue, with the fifth part of the hill and valley grass and hay of 
the town, because the said glebe is a fifth part of the town where it is 
designed, with free isch and entry, foggage, fewel, feal, and divots, 
and pasturage, all of which make up a pennyland of the next adjacent 
to the kirk and manse, valued at £42 Scots rent. 

No. 51a. Letter 1 by George, 3rd Lord Reay, to John Sinclair of 
Ulbster, Sheriff of Caithness, 18 Aug., 1733 — regarding the wearing 
of arms at markets etc : — 

Tongue, 18 Augt, 1733. 

You do me justlie in believing that it is my inclination to 

cultivate a good understanding with all my neighbours, and its my 

constant endeavour to persuade this country people that it is their 

duty as well as their interest to follow my example; nothing but the 

height of ignorance and weakness can occasion that people of the 

same nation and religion, and now by trade etc. usefull to each other, 

should differ beeause of a different surname, county, or being divided 

from each other by a brook or a hill. But the truth is the common 

people retain too much of the old feuds, which all men of honour 

should run down, and their example will in some time prevail. I 

fully approve of your resolution, and will concurr with you therein by 

■being as heavie on my own people when guilty and as easie to any in 

your shyre as the case can allow of; and this I take to be the right 


I got yours only late last night and consequently could not warn 

all my own people, much less those of Strath and Lochnaver, but 

gave a warrant this morning to James Mackay tacksman of Hope, to 

1. AVe are indebted for this letter to the Rev. W. H. Telford, U.F. Manse, Reston, into whose 
possession it has fallen, and who kindly drew our attention to it after our Appendix had been 
compiled, hence the mode of numbering to get it inserted chronologically. 


be communicate to all I'm concerned in, and which I desyred him 
shew you, dischargeing any of my people to bring arms along with 
them ; but if some have them who could not be warned these are to 
be excused for this time, and I'le answer for them hereafter, and 
ordered such to leave their arms in their quarters and not to wear 
them. But then you must take care to prevent any of your commons 
wearing arms at this or any other market, else you'll easily own that 
it will not be in my power to prevent this countrymen doeing the 
same next occassion, tho its my real! wish that instead of quarrelling 
they would rather do each other all the good offices in their power. 
I ordered James Mackay etc. to concurr with you in punishing and 
bringing to justice any of my people shall deserve it, and to ask 
justice of you of any injuries shall be done them and not presume 
to revenge the same, or to be judge and party in their own cause ; and 
I doubt but you'll deall by them if there is occassion as I did with 
Donald Campbell. Meantime, your speaking a civill word to some of 
the leading men in this countrey would be a good mean to make 
them shun what would disoblige you. 

I expected to have seen you here when you was at Strathy, nor 
would I be so near your house in Caithness unwaited of your Lady 
and you, much less att Innerbrechre (?) and Dornoch without comeing 
to Culcairnor, Cyderhall, where we were in October last. 

I wonder you don't cause Mr. Brodie expede that chartor : my 
doer acquaints me that he has given over speaking to him of it. 

My eldest son and his wife went Wednesday to their house at 
Durness. My wife and the rest of my family join with me in their 
complements to your Lady, you and yours. 

I am, Sir, Your most affectionate cousin and humble servant, 


To Mr. Joh. Sinclair. 

P.8. I wrote to my son Hugh to stop all the arms going by. 


Reav Papers. 


No. 52. Letter of George, 3rd Lord Reay, to the Earl of 
Sutherland, proposing the resumption of friendly relations between 
the families of Reay and Sutherland, 1 July, 1745 : — 

My Lord, It was one of the principall maximes which I laid down 
at my first settling in this country for my conduct of civil life, that I 
should maintain an inviolable attachment to the honour and interest 
of the family of Sutherland. Your Lordship's grandfather and father 
were so well satisfied of my zeal to serve them that they allwise 
trusted to my fidelity and friendship and never was disappointed ; I 
expected in likemanner to have shared in your Lordship's friendship 
and confidence, and did all in my power to deserve it on every 
occasion wherein either your Lordship's honour or interest required it, 
until I found that some of these, whom your Lordship favoured most, 
pursued measures inconsistent with the interest of my family, and in 
my weak judgment not altogether calculated for the interest of the 
family of Sutherland or your Lordship's honour and quiet. It was 
these persons and these measures which I found myself obliged to 
oppose, and not the Earl of Sutherland nor the interest of his family. 
For I always looked upon myself not only as a relation but the first 
friend of the family of Sutherland, as being most capable to serve 
them in all events ; and whenever your Lordship is disposed to 
consider me in that light you'l find me as firmly attached to your 
honour and interest, and that of your family's both at home and 
abroad, as I have been in your grandfather and father's time. I 
heartily wish that all our differences were buried in oblivion, and to 
that end I have made some proposals which I think are equall and 
honourable, and for the real interest of your Lordship's family, as well 
as my own, and which my son George will lay before you whenever 
your Lordship pleases. I have the honour to be, with great respect, 
my Lord, your Lordship's most obedient servant, 

Tongue House 1 July, 1745. 

Keay Papers. 


No. 53. Bond of Friendship between George, 3rd Lord Reay, 
and William, Earl of Sutherland, 18 and 26 July, 1745 : — 

At Tongue and Dunrobin the 18th and 20th July, 1745, It is 
mutuallie agreed and condeacended upon between the parties 
following, viz., the Right Hon. William, Earl of Sutherland, on the 
one part, and the Right Honl. George, Lord Reay, on the other part 
as follows : That is to say, forasmuch as some differences and disputes 
have arisen between us to our mutual leison and prejudice on 
occasion of the late election of members to serve in Parliament for 
the shire of Sutherland and for the district of the Northern Burrows, 
And now seeing we are on both parts very sensible that the honour 
and interest of both our families will be better promoted and secured 
by our acting in concert and mutual agreement than by our pursuing 
our separate political courses, And considering especially how highly 
necessary it is that there should be a firm union and confidence 
between our families in the erent of any public disturbance by an 
invasion or rebellion either or both of which calamities there are but 
too just grounds to apprehend from the restless malice of foreign and 
domestic enemies in the present critical conjuncture of the affairs of 
Europe, Therefore and to secure our acting with mutual harmony and 
uniting the whole strength of both our families and adherents, so as 
to be able in any public danger to render the more considerable and 
effectual service to his present Majesty, King George the Second, for 
supporting the succession in the Protestant line of his most illustrious 
house, and for seeming the present happy establishment in Church 
and State, and for defeating the designs of his Maj's. enemies both 
open and secret, We do for these and many other weighty 
considerations mutuallie agree, and by the sacred tie and pledge of 
our word and honour on both sides bind and oblige ourselves and our 
families and followers to each other in manner and to the effect 
aftermentioned, to witt : — 

Primo, That from henceforth we shall bury in everlasting oblivion 


all differences and misunderstandings that may have unhapplie taken 
place between us before the date of these presents, And we promise 
from and after this date to cultivate a firm and inviolable friendship 
for the mutual support of the honour and interest of both our families 
for the future in conjunction with the defence of the present 
government in Church and State. And in order to perpetuate such 
mutual friendship we do agree and promise to each other that in the 
event of any jealousie or differences arising in the future betwixt us 
or our successors and families, from whatever cause or occasion and 
on whatever points of honour or interest, that in such case neither 
party shall act upon surmise or suspicion to the prejudice of the 
other, but on the contrarie that the partie thinking himself aggrieved 
shall communicate the whole matter of his jealousie to the other and 
that both parties sincerely endeavour to have all suspicion of one 
another and all differences removed in the way of friendly communing 
and correspondence, and if any difference shall happen to subsist and 
that the method of removing it is attempted in vain that then it shall 
be submitted to the arbitration of friends hinc inde. 

Secuxdo, Whereas by an act of Parliament anno primo Regis 
Georc/ii Prim I, entitled an act for the more effectuall securing the 
peace in the Highlands of Scotland, we the said George Lord Eeay 
are freed from all services commonly called personall attendance, 
hosting, watching, warding, &c. that were formerely due and 
prestable by us to the family of Sutherland by virtue of our charters 
from them, yet considering that in the event of any public disturbance 
the said noble Earl and we with our vassals and tenants and 
adherents would be in condition to render more considerable service 
to his present Majesty, as well as better promote and secure the 
mutual interest of both our families, by acting in concert and 
agreement with one another than by taking separate measures in the 
prosecution of those ends as is above observed, Therefore we the said 
George Lord Iteay do by these presents bind and oblige ourselves and 
successors, that in the event above mentioned we shall raise all our 


vassals and tenants and others capable to bear arms on our estate 
and employ them in conjunction with the said noble Earl and his 
successors and their other vassals and friends and tenants and 
adherents for the defence of his Majestie, King George the Second 
and his successors, and the present establishment in Church and 
State, and for the mutual defence and support of both the families of 
Reay and Sutherland and our several properties and legal interests. 

Tertio, It is mutuallie agreed upon by us the said William, Earl 
of Sutherland, and George, Lord Reay, and we solemnly promise one 
to another for ourselves and for our successors and our friends and 
adherents that we shall employ and influence and use our best 
endeavours in all future elections of representatives in Parliament in 
the way of mutual concert among ourselves, so as best to secure the 
forsaid ends of promoting and securing the mutual interest of both 
our families in conjunction with our duties to his Majestie and 
successors, and our subserving to the present establishment in Church 
and State. In testimony whereof both parties have subscribed these 
presents at the places and times above written before these witnesses 
rexiv., viz., to the subscription of us George Lord Reay at Tongue the 
18 July and year forsaid, Major Hugh Mackay of General Oglethorp's 
regiment, Master George Mackay our second lawful son, and Mr. 
James Gilchrist minister of Thurso, writer hereof; And to the 
subscription of us the said Earl of Sutherland at Dunrobin the said 
26 July and year forsaid, the said Major Hugh Mackay, and Mr. 
James Gilchrist, witnesses. 

No. 54. Address by the Presbytery of Tongue to the Duke of 
Cumberland congratulating him upon his victory at Cnlloden, dated 
1 May, 174G :— 

presb. Reg. At Thurso the seventeenth day of Jully, one thousand seven 

hundred and fourty six years, the Presbytery met after the Synod 


and after prayer, sederunt Mr. Walter Ross, moderator, Masters John 
Skeldoch, Murdoch Macdonald, and John Munro, ministers — no 
ruling elders commonly attend. Inter alia, The brethren having by 
correspondence considered the signal deliverance of this nation from a 
raging unnatural rebellion, which had subsisted since August and 
brought on very great calamities on many parts of this and the 
neighbour nation, by the total, happy, and glorious defeat of the 
rebels at Culloden on the sixteenth day of April last by his Majesty's 
army under the wise and valorous conduct and command of his Royal 
Highness, the Duke of Cumberland, and that a deep sense of this 
deliverance hath justly induced several presbyteries in the north of 
Scotland to congratulate his Royal Highness on this remarkable 
occasion, have agreed by the correspondence forsaid to send them 
their address also ; the said address was ordered to be recorded, the 
tenor whereof follows : — 

" Unto his Royal Highness, Prince William, Duke of Cumberland, 
&c, &c, the ministers of the Gospel and elders of the Presbytery of 
Tong begg leave with hearts full of joy and thankfulness to Almighty 
God, to congratulate your Royal Highness on the successful progress 
of his Majesty's armies under your wise and valorous conduct agst. 
the insolent and audacious attempts of foreign and domestick enemies 
to our happy constitution. The instances of this progress are so 
conspicuous that it may be thought needless or perhaps officious in us 
to mention them, yet your Goodness will permitt us to express our 
sense of a few of them as the genuine sentiments of our hearts. 
While we remember that your Royal Highness's intrepid appearance 
at Dettingen while yet very young, and bearing from the field of 
battle there the marks of being as much exposed as any there, gave 
an early presage to this nation, honoured with your birth, of the high 
spirit and courage which animated the glorious hero of immortal 
memory whose name you bear, and of the high command with which 
you are so happily invested. When we further consider the glory 
acquired by the gallant attack of our brave Biitish troups at 


Fontenoy, under your Highness' command, that the noble stand they 
there made against the flower of the arms of France, and whole 
sheets of continued fire from numerous and terrible batteries, could 
not miss to have given the enemy a total overthrow (as it gave them 
almost violent shock) had our business been with men and not with 
cannons — an action inglorious on their part, but on ours a happy 
means of putting them out of condition to hinder the imperial crown 
being set on the head of a prince, whose interest it is to keep down 
their power and join in keeping right the ballance of Europe. 
Permit us farther, great Sir, to observe with pleasure and joy that 
when this unnatural rebellious insurrection of an infatuated part of 
our nation called your Royal Highness to a new scheme of action 
here, how quick was the agreeable change of the state of the true 
friends to our happy constitution. When our captivity was turned 
we were like men that dreamed : We were happy before we knew it. 
The name of the Duke of Cumberland became terrible to the rebells 
before they saw him, and when he came to Culloden they soon felt 
the dint of his victorious arms. Go on then, brave prince, to imitate 
the glorious King William, like him to be the deliverer of the 
oppressed, the scourge of tyranny, and the defender of the rights of 
your native land ; and may you be preserved to be more and more an 
honour to it and a support to your Royal Father's crown and dignity. 
May it please your Royal Highness, Wee take this opportunity to 
renew our untainted allegiance to his Sacred Majesty, King George, 
as our only rightful sovereign against all pretenders, and to declare 
our utter abhorrence of this rebellion, begun and carried on by such 
as have been deluded by the pretences and promises of a popish 
pretender's manifestoes and declarations. That God may bless and 
long preserve our sovereign King George, bless the Prince and 
Princess of Wales and all the branches of the Royal Family, and that 
Brittain and Ireland and all the dominions thereto belonging may 
never want one of the illustrious house of Hanover in the protestant 
line to sway the sceptre over them is our prayer. This in name and 


by appointment of the Presbytery of Tong is signe at Tong this first 
day of May, 1746, by, may it please your Royal Highness, your Royal 
Highness's most faithful and most obedient and most humble servant, 
sic subscribitur, Walter Ross, moderator." 

record No. 55. Letter by George, 3rd Lord Reay, to an unknown 

Office, j . 

iokdon. person, probably a Government official — regarding the settlement of 

the Highlands after the overthrow at Culloden, 1 dated 2 Sep., 1/46: — 


As I have the right settlement of the Highlands much at 
heart, I beg leave to hint to you whether it would not be for the 
interests of the Government, and a means to establish these wild 
people in peace, that his Majesty should not give any of the forfeited 
estates in property to any subject. But all to depend on the 
sovereign, right factors employed with power to grant long leasses, to 
use the people well, promote the industry and ever to plant colonys 
of old soldiers among them, and thereby make them taste the sweet 
of being free of tyrannicoll masters. And for promoting the scheme 
of erecting new parishes more speedily and with less expense to the 
government, I am persuaded if there was a free collection over all the 
nation for that purpose it would have the desired effect, and prove in 
time a means to civilize these people, as I have found by experience. 
As his Royal Highness has been our glorious deliverer by his valour 
and conduct, I hope by his prudent and wise direction he'l fall on 
proper methods to make these idle ignorant people useful subjects, 
which will make him famous to posterity, as it is easier to conquer 
than to civilize barbarous people. 

I design soon to go north. If there's any thing wherein I can be 
in the least useful, if his Royal Highness honours me with his 

1. For the transcript of this letter we are indebted to Jas. Macdonald, Esqr., W.S., 


commands they shall be chearfully obeyed. I hope you will be so 
good as to forgive this trouble, which use as you see proper, at least 
so as I told you here. 

I have the honour to be with great respect, Sir, Your most 
obedient and most humble servant, 

Edinburgh, 2nd Sep., 1746. 

No. 56. Excerpt Tack by the trustees of the deceased George, 
3rd Lord Reay, to his son the Hon. Hugh Mackay of Bighouse, of 
the estate of Reay for fifteen years from Whitsunday, 1/56 : — 

It is contracted agreed and finally ended betwixt the parties after 
reay papers, mentioned, viz., Sir Hew Dalrymple of North Berwick, Bart., John 
Hamilton of Bargeny, George MacKy of Skibo, David Ross of 
Inverhasley, and Lieutenant-Colonel Alexander MacKy, of Colonel 
Lambton's regiment, Trustees namtd and appointed by the 
deceased George Lord Reay (with consent of Donald, now Lord Reay, 
his son) for managing the said George Lord Reay his estate and 
affairs after his decease, conform to a Trust Right & Disposition 
executed by the said George Lord Reay with consent of his son in 
favour of the now deceased Hugh Dalrymple of Drummore, one of 
the senators of the College of Justice and the forenamed persones his 
Trustees (except the said Colonel Alexander MacKy), bearing date 
1 Oct., 1741, and registrate in the Books of Session the 17 July, 
1742 ; and another deed executed by the said late and present Lords 
of Reay 1 Nov., 1743, constituting and appointing the said Colonel 
Alexander MacKy (therein designated Captain Alexander MacKy of 
Strathtongue) a trustee for the purpose above mentioned along with 
the said other trustees of the one part, and Hugh MacKy of 
Bighouse of the other part in manner following. That is to say, 



Whereas by contract or tack bearing date 11 Oct., 3, and 16 Nov., 
1743, entered into between the said deceased George Lord Reay with 
consent aforesaid, sett and in tack and assedation Iett to the said 
Hugh MacKy, during the space for the tack duty and with and under 
the several provisions reservations and declarations therein written, 
All and haill the mansion house of Tongue with office-houses, 
gardens, parks, and enclosures thereto belonging, together with all 
and sundry the towns, lands, baronies, milns, teinds, woods, fishings, 
feu-duties and others with the pertinents therein specified all lying as 
therein mentioned. By which tack it is expresely provided and 
declared that it should be in the power of the oldest son of the said 
Donald now Lord Reay, procreated betwixt him and Mrs. Marion 
Dalrymple his first lady, or the second son of the said marriage 
succeeding to the said lands and estate through his elder brother's 
demise, with the consent of the said trustees upon his attaining the 
age of 21 to take possession of the said mansion house and pertinents 
and the forsaid lands and estates into his own hands, and the said 
tack should from thenceforth cease and determine, and the said Hugh 
MacKy should be bound to remove therefrom upon the premonition 
of six months to be made to him in legal form. Lykeas by a 
subsequent tack bearing date 21 Oct., & 25 Nov., 1748, entered into 
betwixt the said trustees and Hugh MacKy, they (for the causes 
therein mentioned) not only ratified and approved of the forsaid tack 
granted by the said George Lord Reay and them to the said Hugh 
MacKy and declared the same binding upon all parties, but also, with 
and under the exceptions variations and provisions therein contained, 
did of new in coroboration of the said tack lett to the said Hugh 
MacKy during the space and for the tack duty therein mentioned the 
whole lands and estate and others set in lease to him by the tack 
above recited, as in and by the said two tacks reference being 
thereunto had will more fully and at length appear. And whereas it 
was provided by the forsaid tacks that upon George, now Master of 
Reay, eldest son of Donald Lord Reay, his attaining the age of 21 


years, he the said George Master of Reay with consent of the said 
trustees might have resumed and taken into his own bands the whole 
premises sett by the tack above recited ; and the said trustees and the 
said George Master of Reay by their sederunt bearing date 28 Aug., 
1755, were of opinion it was proper a new lease should be granted to 
the said Hugh MacKy for 15 years from and after Whitsunday 1756, 
with a break as to the houses, gardens, parks, and Mains of Tongue, 
as mentioned in the said sederunt ; and they recommended to Donald 
Lord Reay, John MacKy of Strathy, Robert MacKy of Islandhanda, 
John MacKy of Clashneach, and James MacKy of Skerray to take 
into their consideration the situation of the trust estate and state of 
affairs of the family of Reay. And they, having accordingly done the 
same, were of opinion that the granting of a new tack to the said 
Hugh MacKy of the lands estate and others above mentioned would 
tend to the utmost advantage of the family and estate, as the forsaid 
sederunt with the report of the said Donald Lord Reay and the other 
gentlemen above named insert in the sederunt books of the said 
trustees more fully reports ; therefore in pursuance of the forsaid 
opinion and resolution the said trustees do hereby of new sett and in 
tack and assedation for the yearly tack duty and with and under 
provisions, exceptions, reservations, and declarations after written, 
sett to the said Hugh MacKy himself, secluding his heirs executors 
and assignies, all and haill the mansion house of Tongue with the 
office-houses, gardens, parks, and inclosures thereto belonging, 
together with all and sundry lands, baronies, towns, milns, multures, 
sucken, knaveships, and sequels thereof, salmon fishings of the waters 
of Hope, Laxford, and Polla, also the salmon fishings of the water of 
Kinloch, in so far as the deceased George Lord Reay had right 
thereto, As also the feu-duties of the estate of Strathy and Lower 
Hallowdale, the surplus wadsett and tack duties payable by William 
MacKy of Melness and John MacKy of Borgiemore or their 
successors in their tacks and wadsetts, and the vicarages of the 
parishes of Tounge, Durnes, and Edderachilis, which all pertained 


and belonged to the said deceased George Lord Reay, lying within 
the parishes of Tonnge, Durnes, Edderachilis, Farr, and Reay, and the 
sheriffdom of Sutherland, with the haill houses, biggings, corfhouses, 
cruives, parts, pendicles and universal pertinents thereto belonging, 
kains, customs, casualities, and services thereof of whatsoever kind 
payable for or furth of the lands, teinds, milns, fishings, and others 
aforsaid all lying as above mentioned. With liberty and power to 
the said Hugh MacKy during the continuance of this tack to keep as 
many fishing boats and to make kelp on any part of the said estate, 
and use as much ware for dunging the corn-lands as he and the 
tenants thereof shall think necessary ; excepting and reserving always 
furth and from this tack the towns and lands of Balnakeil, Galduell, 
Idenfarct, Sangoes, Keinabein, Eispin, Islandhoan, Portchammul, 
Durin, Miln of Durness, multures, knaveships, sucken, and sequels 
thereof, both Ballvulichs, Knockbreac, Keoldale, Sartigram, Polmore, 
Clashneach with Auldychladich, Borley, Slaness, Nuibeg, Achowmore 
with the mains, parks, and grazings thereof, viz., Shinnish, Firrach, 
and salmon fishing and other fishing on the water of Durnes, being a 
part of the barony of Durnes, all which is allocate to the said Donald 
Lord Reay and presently in his possession, and which he is entitled to 
during his lifetime for the support of himself and family 1 etc. 

No. 57. A Description of the Reay estate by a valuator (name 
unknown), dated 1797: — ■ 

beay paters. After giving a minute definition of the boundaries, it proceeds: — 
"What is called the Reay forest forms almost the centre of this great 
extent. It consists of mountains hills and precipices full of excellent 

1. All the lands of the estate held in wadsett were excepted from this tack, as were also those 
directly occupied by Lord Reay 


pasture, these mountains appearing green up to their very tops. As 
they are dry and well sheltered they must be particularly adapted for 
sheep. There are at present in the forest about 1000 deer. These 
are shot and hunted down by the foresters and people in the 
neighbourhood for their own use, except such as are sent at times to 
the factor and his friends and to others who choose to call for them. 
The appearance of the estate is altogether mountainous with great 
promontories going into the sea, such as Cape Wrath, the Whitten 
Crail, and Farrethead. The places of Glencoul and Glendow at the 
head of Kylescoue have in their appearance a wild and savage beauty 
that is not possible for any person to conceive that has not seen them. 
Indeed the parish of Edrachilis has all much the same look. Durness 
is a dry pretty spot ; the soil sandy, well peopled for its extent. It 
lies upon a bed of limestone which is here found in the greatest 
abundance. It is considered the best grass and pasture ground in 
the north of Scotland, and it was of old the Bishop of Caithness' 
shealing or pasture farm. The parish of Tongue is of the three 
parishes the most habitable, and in which there is the most arable 
ground. It is likewise the most accessible, there being a road from 
the parish of Farr, to the east of it, to the Mansion House of Tongue. 
There is at the north end of Loch Loyal, a little above the beach, a 
most beautiful romantic situation for a sporting house or quarters. 
It has the loch in front, four great hills rising above the loch, one of 
them full of birch-wood, rising like an amphitheatre with the green 
top of the mountain above it. 

"The rent of the estate of Reay a few years ago was only £129/. 
The principal tacksmen or leaseholders of it are, first, George MacKay 
of Bighouse. His father Robert MacKay granted about 50 years 
ago to Lord Reay a bond for £500 at 5 per centum, he at the same 
time got possession as a tenant of a great part of the parish of 
Edrachilis, including Scourie the principal place in it, where he lived. 
It was stipulated between him and Lord Reay that he should have 
possession of these lands as long as his bond for £500 remained 


unpaid, but that as soon as it was paid up a lease should then 
commence for 19 years of these lands. This lease might not have 
commenced yet but for the dispute which arose in the year 1786 
between General Alexander MacKay and the present Bighouse, about 
cutting wood on the grounds of this lease. Bighouse disputed Lord 
Reay's right to cut the wood, at which the general was so displeased 
that he offered him payment of the £500 bond and obliged his lease 
to commence at, I think, Whitsunday 1/87. 

" William Munro of Achany has a lease of Auldinrinnie in the 
same parish for much the same duration. By it he is allowed £5 
yearly for taking care of that part of the forest. This gives him a 
privilege to shoot deer with his friends. Bighouse has a privilege of 
the same nature to the extent, I think, of 12 deer yearly. 

"Mrs. Macleod, widow of Roderick Macleod from the Isle of 
Skye, has a lease of Balnakiel, the principal place and farm in the 
parish of Durness, and indeed the best farm not only of the estate of 
Reay, but perhaps in the north. She has it for about 19 years from 
Whitsunday 1788 or 89. Donald Lord Reay lived here, and there is 
on it a good large mansion house. 

"James Anderson and John and Thomas Arbuthnot, of 
Peterhead, have a lease of the fishings and kelp-shores of the estate 
for 4 nineteen years from Whit. 1789. I think there is a break (as it 
is called) in this lease at the end of the first 30 years, Lord Reay 
paying them the expenses they may have been at in building houses, 
piers, and other accomodations ; a good deal of which they have 

"Donald Forbes has a lease of Oldshoars in the parish of 
Edrachilis for 19 years, of much the same duration as those 
mentioned. He wished to get a lease at the same time of Rehisell, 
where his mother lives. It was I believe drawn out, at least in 
scroll, but never signed. 

" Donald MacKay has a lease of Eriboll, parish of Durness, for I 
believe somewhat more than 19 years from much about the same date 


with the rest — his rent rises progressively as a certain number of years- 
in his lease elapses. I think his is the only lease on the estate that 
does so. 

"John Scobie has a lease of 31 years of Melness, granted by the 
late Hon. Mr. Mackay about the year 1775. He was obliged to 
build a good house there and to enclose it, which was done. 

"James MacKay of Skerray is the only wadsetter residing in the 
country. His wadset consists of about £400 infefted on the lands of 
Ribigill. He is allowed to retain the rent of Skerray, where he lives,, 
for the rent he should receive from Ribigill ; and he got before 
General MacKay's death a lease of Skerray and some places near it, I 
believe, the same as the rest got. 

" The services on the farm of Tongue were converted in the year 
1789 — their value came to about £30. The tenants who formerly 
performed these services paid these £30 yearly to the person who 
farmed Tongue, who only himself paid £30 ; so that he paid no rent 
for it in a manner, unless he gave credit for the £30 in his account. 

" The estate of Reay may be equal in extent to the county of Fife, 
or any of the Lothians. It is very compact considering its great 
extent, no other estate interfering with it, and its marches are well 
and neatly ascertained by the sea, the sea-loch of Kylscow, the great 
mountain of Ben Hee, Loch Loyal, and the water of Torrisdale. \t 
may well be called one of the great estates of Scotland ; and if the 
present lord lives to the age of his father or grandfather he may in 
the course of his life bring it to £5000 yearly rent, and at the same 
time have the satisfaction to see his tenants live happily enjoying 
plenty, the natural fruits of honest industry." 

No. 58. List of proposed roads in the four northern counties 
of Scotland surveyed by George Brown, under the direction of the 

Reay Papers. 


commander-in-chief in North Britain, with estimated cost — survey 
made 1790-99:— 

1790 Dingwall to Ullapool 

,, Ullapool to Portnaleek Ferry ....'- 
,, Portnaleek to Dingwall ..... 

1792 Inverness to Bernera Barracks, Kyle-rea, by the 

north side of Lochness and Glenmoriston 
,, Fort William to Pitnain in Badenoch ... 

1793 Dingwall to Polewe 

„ Invermoriston to Fort- Augustus - - - - 

„ Strome upon Lochcarron to Auchensheen 

„ Lochinver to Portinleik 

1794 Culrain to Tongue ...... 

„ Scoury to Lairg ------- 

,, Tongue to the kirk of Farr ----- 

,, Kirk of Farr to the head of Lochnaver, at 

Inver-bagistie ------- 

,, Burigill on Inver-bagistie to Helmsdale 

1795 Culrain by Strath-flete to Dunbeath 
,, Beauly to Loch Duich ------ 

1796 Fort- William by Loch Ell to Loch na Gaull - 
,, Loch Nevish to Auchnacarry - 
„ From the road joining Fort-Augustus and Fort- 
William, at the head of Loch Lochy, to 

1797 Kirk of Farr to Thurso 

,, Thurso by Mybster to Dunbeath - - - - 
,, Portinleek to Tain ------ 

1798 Culrain through the interior of Sutherland to 

Rumsdale, on Stiathmore, in Caithness - 
,, Kirk of Durness to Mudale - - - - - 

,, Wick to John O'Groats 

,, John O'Groats to Thurso - 

1799 Kyle head near Earners, through Sky to Dunvegan 
„ Thurso to Wick ------- 

,, Thurso to Bumsdale to join the Portnaleik Road - 

Total 1 

1. Many of the roads were not formed for a considerable number of years after the survey. 
For instance, the road from Durness to Mudale was begun in 1825, while that from the kirk of 
Farr to the head of Lochnaver was under construction sometime between 1850-60. And one at 
least of the surveyed roads was never constructed, viz., that from Portinleik to Rumsdale in 

£7,825 19 


4,622 15 

2,106 2 


9.493 3 


6,700 19 


7,388 14 


307 18 


3,943 15 


6,039 10 


5,373 5 


4,429 11 


1,258 6 


2,800 5 




7,789 13 


7,882 19 

6,436 10 

5,882 16 


3,092 4 

4,485 17 


3,774 18 


1,528 7 

9,613 1 


6,968 12 

2,192 2 


1,759 10 


15,220 10 


4,907 15 


£151,014 4 


Reay Papers. 


No. 59. Letter by Caroline, widow of Captain John Mackay of 
Skerray, to Eric, 7th Lord Reay, dated 24 Feb., 1817 : — 

My Lord, I am under the necessity of troubling your Lordship 
once more regarding the small heritable bond that falls to my family 
upon the Reay estate. Curators are now procured for my son James 
by all the necessary forms of law, and at a court at Kirkiboll some 
weeks ago Captain MacKay John Scobie, and the Rev. Mr Hugh 
MacKy MacKenzie were appointed. I trust therefore your Lordship 
will have the goodness to order your agent at Edinburgh to have the 
amount of the bond ready for the curators, who must immediately 
draw for it from the pressing state of my credit. 

I do not wish to trouble your Lordship with a long account of my 
complicated distresses since I did myself the honour of addressing 
you before, but between family affliction and bank expenses few had 
such reason to be distressed in mind and encumbered in circumstances 
as I have. 

In April last my late worthy son Hugh departed this life at 
Sutherland upon his way home from college, and it being his dying 
request to have his body carried over to this country it was attended 
to with the greatest Highland enthusiasm. In less than six months 
after, my dear Isabella died likewise, who never recovered his death. 
But I must have done and beg your Lordship pardon for indulging 
my feelings so much, but I had no less than three promising children 
taken from me in less than two years' time, and I doubt not but one 
of your Lordship's humanity will forgive me. With great reluctance 
I must now return to my subject, as matters in this weary world 
must be attended to, while in it. By a letter from the gentlemen 
that act for me there I find that your Lordship's agent there proposes 
keeping from me ,£28 of the amount mentioned in the bond, from the 
circumstances of your late honl. father's wadsetts being overburdened 
that much ; but I cannot think that j r our Lordship will allow that 
loss fall upon me as I can but ill afford it. If. therefore, the above 


Keay Papers. 


sum is kept from me at Edinburgh I trust Mr Anderson will be 
ordered to give me credit for it in my rent, as surely the whole 
amount in the bond was given. 

Caroline MacKay. 

Skerray 24 Feb., 181/. 

No. 60. Excerpt of Letter of Mr Pat. Sellar, sheepfarmer, to 
Lord Keay — regarding the evictions, dated 1 May, 1819 : — 

My Lord, Sometime ago your Lordship's brother wrote me that 
Mr Forbes had not removed one of his subtenants, whom as 
dependents or servants he keeps doing mischief and ploughing in the 
winter land of Ben Hope — a thing which in the face of his written 
promise to your Lordship I thought very surprising. I saw Mr 
Forbes soon after, and was assured by him they should all quit along 
with himself at Whitsunday 1820 and leave the ground unploughed. 
But to my great surprise 1 received a letter from him again on the 16 
Apr. in quite a different strain, maintaining that he would plough 
and keep undertenants as he pleased. Now my Lord that no 
misunderstanding may possibly arise between your Lordship and me 
by silence, as was the case with Mr Houston, I give your Lordship 
timely notice of all this to intimate that if the banditti presently kept 
on Ben Hope farm are to have possession until Whitsunday 1821, on 
the pretext that they have ploughed 1820 and must consume their 
straw on the ground up to Whitsunday 1821, and if there be of 
consequence no access for flocks to the safe and peaceable use of the 
wintering, then I cannot enter into possession at Whit. 1820, as was 
intended by the missives entered into betwixt your Lordship and me, 
on such stormy ground without the wintering, for with flocks mixed 
among sheep-stealers and their dogs no stockman could calculate on 
possessing the farm. If I can get access I will in 1820 follow up my 


plan, and if I cannot I will put Strathnaver 1 under cheviot stock 
under a different arrangement, &c. 

Pat. Sellar. 

No. 61. Report of the Tongue and Durness ground officers 18 
June, 1819 — regarding the sub-tenants on Major Forbes' farms of 
Kinloch and Ben Hope : — 

reay papers. We the ground officers of the parishes of Tongue and Durness, 
having inspected Major Forbes' farm of Kinloch and Ben Hope in 
order to ascertain the number of sub-tenants, cottars, and settlers ' 
thereon, report as follows : — 

Strathmore District. Visited Blaid and found Alex. Morison 
upon the winter lands. Said Morison herds cattle for Major Forbes, 
has two acres of land for potatoes and corn in lieu of wages, and 
2J bolls of meal and two cows' grazing. He is under orders to quit 
it at Whit, next without a crop. 

Visited Cranich and found James Campbell, John Macintosh, 
and Robert MacPhcrson upon the winter land. James Campbell has 
six of a family including four children. John Macintosh has three of 
a family including one child. Robert MacPherson has four of a 
family and two children. Each of the said men has two acres of 
corn land and potato land, two cows' grazing in lieu of wages ; 
ground under crop at present, but are under orders to quit at Whit, 
next without a crop. All herd cattle for Major Forbes. 

Visited Dalduin or Dornilla and found Angus Calder upon the 

1. On the strath of the Naver Mr. Sellar had already smoked out the inhabitants as we 
showed at page 231, but mercifully he failed to effect an arrangement with Lord Reay, and thus 
the banditti of the Reay estate escaped the application of the torch. 

A little later when his Lordship was making arrangements for the sale of the estate he wrote 
to his friend, W. J. Denison, Esqr., M.P., a letter dated 17 Aug., 1S28, in which Reay referred to 
his smaller tenants as follows: — "The small rents have upon the whole been well paid, perhaps 
better than any other of this class of tenants in Scotland. . . I feel confident .... they 
only require a little support to make them the most valuable class upon the estate." Rea-y 


winter land with seven of a family including children. Said Calder 
herds cattle for Major Forbes, has six acres of corn and potato land 
in lieu of wages under crop at present, but is under orders to quit at 
Whit, next without a crop. 

Visited John MacKy in Aultnacailich and found him on the 
winter laud with eight of a family including children. Said MacKy 
herds cattle to Major Forbes, has six acres of land for corn and 
potatoes in lieu of wages under crop at present, but is under orders to 
quit next Whit, without a crop. 

Visited Musel and found widow MacKenzie upon the winter laud 

with seven of a family including children. Said widow herds cattle 

to Major Forbes, has two acres of land for corn and potatoes in lieu of 

• wages, ground under crop at present, but under orders to quit at 

Whit, next without crop. 

Hope District. Visited Hope and found James Macky upon 
the winter land with five of a family including children. Said Macky 
herds cattle for Major Forbes, has two acres of land for corn and 
potatoes in lieu of wages under crop at present, but under orders to 
quit at Whit, next without crop. Visited Hope and found George 
Macky's land under crop, say one acre — terms not known, but not in 
the capacity of servant. 

Visited Fresgill and found John and Duncan Munro upon the 
winter lands with three of a family each. Said Munros herd cattle 
for Major Forbes, have two acres of laud each for corn and potatoes 
in lieu of wages under crop at present, but under orders to quit. 

Kinloch District. Visited Unstepan and found John Ross, 
Malcolm Ross, and George Ross, three grown up men, upon the 
winter land. 

Visited Totag and found John Sutherland and Murdo Macky, his 
son-in-law, upon the winter land in one family six in number 
including children. Said men herd goats for Major Forbes, and 
have the whole pendicle under crop in lieu of wages. 

Visited Bowerscaig and found Donald Oag and Donald Munro 

Keay Papers. 


upon the winter land, the former having five of a family and the 
latter six. Said men herd cattle for Major Forbes and have the 
whole pendicle under crop. Also found upon the winter land of 
Bowerscaig Hugh MacKy with three of a family. He is a cottar to- 
Major Forbes, and has some new land under crop. 

There are upon the Ben Hope side of farm 4 shepherds & 1 foxer, 
and ou the Kinloch side 2 shepherds, making a total of 16 herds or 
cottars, 6 shepherds, and 1 foxer. 

John Mackay, Tongue. 
Angus Sutherland, Durness. 

No. 62. Excerpt Disposition of Sale of the Reay estate by 
Lord Reay to the Marquis of Stafford, afterwards 1st Duke of 
Sutherland, for the sum of £300,000 stg., dated 15 May, 1829 :— 

Be it known to all men by these presents that I, the Rt. Hon. 
Eric Lord Reay, heritable proprietor of the lands and others 
underwritten, in consideration of the sum of £300,000 stg. instantly 
advanced and paid by the Most Noble George Granville, Marquis of 
the county of Stafford, as the agreed on value and price of the said 
lauds and others, of which sum I hereby acknowledge the receipt 
renouncing all objections to the contrary and discharge the said 
Marquis his heirs executors and successors thereof for ever, Have sold 
alienated and disponed, as I the said Eric Lord Reay do hereby sell 
alienate and dispone, to and in favour of the said George Granville, 
Marquis of the county of Stafford, his heirs and assignees whatsoever 
heritably and irredeemably, All and sundry the lands, milns, fishings, 
teiud sheaves, and others after specified comprehending and 
constituting the whole estate and country of Reay, and the whole of 
the lands and heritages belonging to me, lying in the county of 
Sutherland or in the county of Caithness, as hereafter mentioned. 


viz. All and haill the town and lands of Ribigill miln and milnlands 
thereof, Keanlochmore, Keanlochbeg, Mussel, Dalkeapach, Ilandryr, 
Avnaboll, and the salmond fishings upon the water of Dritary, 
Hunloum miln and milnlands, Eriboll, Strathbeg, Yslandchoirie, 
Houp and salmond fishing thereof, the forest and forest-lands of 
Diriemore and the forest towns of Auldinrinie and Loan, and salmond 
fishing thereof upon the water of Garvrone, Ardbeg, Ardmore, 
Keanlochbervie, Alchourbeg, Alschourniore, Carnmanoch, Sandwood* 
Kearvag, Havesh, Keoldale and salmond fishings in the water of 
Duirness and cruives thereof, Crangillieh, Borlie, Slamaness? 
Balnakill, Farret, Gavel, Crossbell, Balnamulick, Sandgayes, 
Ylandhoan, Rispyne, Fraskill, Strathmelness, Melness miln and 
milnlands of the same, Ylandgyle, Scrolumy, Strathtongue, 
Cauldabacklie, Tongue miln and milnlands thereof, Kirkaboll, 
Serabuster, Kinnisaide, Releyden, Oldlangwart, Torrantarrow, 
Lettermore, Borgiemore, Torrisdale, Skerra, Ylandroyan and 
Ylandcolme, as also All and haill the lands of Ederachilis with 
the pertinents thereof, viz., the lands of Fenziedailles, Laxfurd 
with the salmond fishing of the same, Scouriebeg, Scouriemore, 
Galdstroam, and the island of Handa, with the teind sheaves of all 
and sundry the forsaid lands and barony of Ardurness pertaining and 
belonging thereto, viz., of All and haill the lands of Galdwell, 
Kialdale, Cranengaele, Gerrongarve, Terragavish, Carnmanoch, 
Borley, Slanes, and the salmond fishing upon the water of 
Avongarrone and Sandwood, and the salmond fishing upon the water 
■of Ardurness, and the fishing of cruives thereof whatsoever, with the 
miln and multures of the same, as also of the island of Hoa and other 
islands there, with the seaports of all and sundry the lands and others 
above written and all other fishings of the same as well in fresh 
as in salt water, as also of the lands of Sandwood, Alshourbeg, 
Alshourmore, with all and sundry towers, fortalices, manor places, 


At Westminster the fifteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord 


one thousand eight hundred twenty and nine years in presence of 
these witnesses, James Loch, of Bloomsbury Square in the county of 
Middlesex, Esqr., and Member of Parliament ; John Spottiswoode 
Esqr. of Spottiswoode, and of Great George Street in the City and 
Liberties of Westminster ; David Robertson of Golden Square in the 
county of Middlesex, Esqr. ; and the said William MacKenzie, the 
place and date of subscription and names and designations of the 
witnesses being inserted in the handwriting of the said William 

No. 63. Judicial Rent-Roll of the Reay estate given in merks 
as led in a process of law, dated March, 1678 : — ■ 

Mowdaill. Hutcheou M'Ky, 100; William m'alister, 50; John 
Keav Papers. M'Ky, 50. 

Gnubeg. John m'allen, 100 ; Henry m'Coineal, 30. 

Gn'UBMOKE. Angus m'cremel, 38 ; Finlay m'ferqr, 38 ; Murdo 

m'ferqr, 38 ; Xeill m'rorie, 25. 
Dinachtoiue. Donald m'Angus, 20. 
Seir. William moir, 42 ; John m'Angus vie Curchie, 21 ; Thonia 

m'Angus, 21 ; Finlay m'Angus vie Homas, 21. 
Langwell. Agnes nin duii, 21 ; John m'alister vie eoin, 20 ; 

Rurie Mand, 22; Margaret nyin Phaill, 11; Murdo 

miller, 11. 
Skeall. Gilliphadrighe in Ceanroyin, 20 ; Donald m'gilliphadrick 

in do., 10 ; Donald Ruyyr in do., 10 ; William m'ean 

Scheill, 15 : John M'Rorie na beyin, 21 ; John Roy, 31 ; 

Mary nyin Wm. vie angus, 6 ; Alex. Clark, 20 ; Angus 

Clark, 20. 
Skelpaik. Angus neilson, 50 ; Rorie M'Ky, 30 ; John more, 9 ; 

Thomas M'Ky, 20. 


Ravigill. William Munro, 200. 

Auchkylnaborgie. Hutcheon Munro, 50 ; James Murray, 10 ; 

John Glass, 10. 
Carnachie. Angus Gunns, 20; Henry Angus vie Hormat, 20 ; 

William vie Angus vie William, 60; Neill m'Finlay, 50; 

Angus m'mu, 20. 
Invernaver. Donald Munro, 80 ; Ferqr m'James, 40 ; Hutcheon 

m'Ferqr, 20 ; James Gordon, 20 ; Rorie m'Fiula, 40. 
Borgiebeg. Alexr. Cealan, 50 ; William m'Curchie moir, 50 ; 

Angus m'William vie Rorie, 20. 
Rinsvie. George Munro, 150. 
Torrisdaill. Hector Munro, elder, 75; Hector Munro, yr., 100; 

Finlay dow, 37 ; Hugh Munro, ; Murdo dow, 6. 

Borgiemore. Charles M'Ky of, 200. 
Auchniskich. Donald m'Phaill, 40 ; William m'Coill, 50 ; 

Andrew Munro, 40 ; Angus Coupar, 36 ; Angus m'ean duii, 

25 ; John m'Angus, 25 ; John m'coinill reoch, 25 ; John 

m'Phaill, 25. 
Reiktchattell. William Buye, 25 ; Alex, m'even, 6 ; David 

Ross, 25 ; Donald M'Leau, 12 ; Neill m'rorie vie angus vie 

Rorie, 12. 
•Clachan. Alexander miller, 4. 
Crask. William m'Xeill, 40 ; Donald M'Ky, 40. 
Sinachu. Angus m'Conil vie alister, 80 ; Angus m'Finlay, 13 ; 

Alexander m'Finlay, 37 ; Donald m'Alister, 37. 
Dibcoran. John M'Ky, 37 ; Alex. m'Conill, 50 ; Donald m'ean 

15 ; Thomas m'alister, 12. 
Auubeg. William m'Curchie, miller, 12; William m'ean vie 

Conill, 12 ; John m'ean roy, 12 ; Win. m'ean vie conill, 12. 
Swardallie. Ago Coupar, 80 ; Donald m'Callan, 10 ; John 

m'neill, 12. 
Kirkton. John m'ean vie conill, 6 ; Patrick moir, 6 ; Murdo 

miller, 12; William m'ewin, 12; John m'angus vie ean, 12; 


John Toshach, 25. 
Skerra. Patrick Gun, 25 ; Angus m'Cormal, 6 ; John Balfour, 

6 ; John m'ean, 6 ; William m'ean, 6 ; John m'ean vie 

Curchie, 25 ; John m'Curchie Caskill, 25 ; John m'Curchie 

Cormal, 25 ; Angus ni'finlay, 25. 
Skurljiy. Donald M'Ky of, 120. 
Caltnbackie. John ni'William vie can, 25 ; William vie Conail 

vie Finlay, 18 ; Rorie Gun, 25 ; Donald Baine, 18 ; William 

m'rorie, 25 ; Angus m'james, 25. 
Strathanhung. John Naverach, elder, 50 ; John Naverach, yr., 

25 ; Neill Naverach, 25. 
Ehihung. Alex. Roy, 25 ; John m'rorie vie Hamish, 25. 
Tung. Hector M'Ky, 75; Neill gow, 12; John M'Kynich, 6; 

John m'rorie moir, 6 ; Thomas Steivin, 6 ; Hugh Gow, 6 ; 

Donald m'Gilbert, 12; John roy greasich, 25; Angus 

m'rorie moir, 25. 
Kenloch. Donald Clark, 25 ; William Clark, 80 ; Finlay 

m'Conill, 25; John m'Conill, 12; Donald beg Clark, 25 ; 

Angus Clark, 25 ; John Down, 25 ; Murdo m'Homas, 25. 
Hope. Donald M'Ky, 50 ; John m'ean vie ean, 50 ; William vie 

ean vie ean, 25 ; William m'ean vie curchie, 25. 
Froskill. Neil m'homash, 25 ; John weaver, 25 ; Thomas 

weaver, 25. 
Strathanmelnes. Hector m'angus vie allan, 80 ; Margaret 

M'Leod, 80 ; John M'Ky, 100. 
Auchnahow. William m'Curchie vie Conill, 45. 
Balmexach. Hutcheon Baxter, 6 ; Murdo m'ean voir, 6 ; Donald 

m'Phaill, 6 ; Tom m'rorie, 12. 
Ballevullich. Tom Bayne, 50 ; John Bayne, 50 ; Neill 

Bayne, 25. 
Crospuyll. Hugh m'James, 25 ; Angus m'Conill, 20. 
Knockbreck. Neil Morisone, 50 ; John oig, 30. 
Slaines. William M'Ky of, 100. 



Durness. Mr. Hugh Munro, minister of, 100. 

Rispin. Angus m'Conill vie Angus, 50. 

Kenabin. Christopher m'ean vie William moir, 25 ; Alex. 

marechter, 25. 
Lochstumie. Angus m'Conill vie Angus, 25. 
Portcammill. William roy m'William vie Angus, 12. 
Kedall. Angus oig, 12; Donald og, 20; Angus Bayne, 20; 

John m'Angus, 20 ; John m'rorie, 20 ; Andrew m'ean vie 

finlay, 20; Murdo beg, 12; Donald m'Conill vie Ago, 12; 

Angus m'Conill vie ean, 12. 
Alsheormore. Hugh M'Ky, 20 ; Hugh m'Connil vie alien, 20 ; 

Effie Monro, 12. 
Keanlochbervie. William roy m'ewen vie Angus, 20 ; Donald 

og, 20 ; John m'Homas vie Conill reach, 12 ; John m'neil 

og, 12. 
Ardachie. Brian roy, 50 ; John m'rorie, 30 ; Donald m'ean vie 

rorie, 30 ; John Stephen, 25 ; Donald beg m'rorie, 25. 
Achastell. Angus m'rorie, 12; John miller, 16. 
Scrabuster. Alexander roy, 25 ; Alexander m'Eone, 25 ; John 

m'Conill vie ean, 37. 
Kirkiboll. Neil M'Leod, 100. 
Kinsade. Angus m'ean, 50 ; Donald M'Leod, 50. 
Lettermoir. John Munro, 100 ; Donald M'Leod, 50 ; Alex. 

m'Curichie, 62 ; Alex. m'Angie vie Allen, 50 ; Neil m'conill 

vie Angus, 25. 
Torrandarrovv. John m'Angus vie Allen, 75 ; John m'Curchie 

vie ean voir, 37. 
Achowlogart. Neil m'Angus vie Allen, 75. 
Rheanleadain. Rorie Maud, 50 ; Donald m'Conill vie Angus, 

25 ; Alexander m'alister, 18. 
Rhian-Innerim. Hugh m'Angus vie allan, 50. 
Fallisade. Paul m'ean vie conill, 50. 
Island Choary. Hector M'Leod, 40 ; Hector m'Conill, 40. 


Eriboll. Hector m'Phadrick, 37 ; Angus m'Curchie, 1 2 ; Ewin 

gow, 12 ; John Baine, 6 ; John roy, 6. 
Humlem. John m'hormal vie alister, 25 ; Angus mac an teir ; 

Hugh m'ean vie Curchie, 16 ; John m'Conil vie Angus, 16. 
Arnaboll. Torniac Fletcher. 40; Donald m'Conil vie Gilbert, 30. 
Mussall. Rorie m'ean vie Conil vie Finla, 50 ; Donald m'ean 

vie Conl., 50. 
Blaad. Thomas M'Ky, 40 ; Neil m'Curchie vie Angus, 4. 

John m'Henrick taxman of the water of Dimness, 250. 
Donald M'Ky taxman of the water of Hope, 400. 
John Lord Reay, 1000. 
Angus M'Ky of Melness, 300. 
Angus M'Ky of Ribigill, 200. 
Hugh M'Ky of Skinnet, 150. 

No. 64. Judicial Rent-Roll of the Reay estate as taken before 
Mr , sheriff-substitute of the country of Strathnaver, 

Dec, 1789 :— 

Borgiemore. John M'Kay, £13 10; do. for rent of mill, £3 • 
eeay papers. Wm. Mackay, £2 3 9; Neil More, £1 1 10; Donald 

Mackay's widow, £357; Win. MacAgou, £2 3 9. 

Torrisdale. Angus M'Askile's widow, £1 13 9; Win. Camp- 
bell, £12 6; Alex. Suthd., £12 6; Hugh M'Kay, 
£1 11 3 ; James M'Rory, £l 10 ; Win. M'Amish, £1 6 ; 
Hugh Morison, £2 11 3; Angus Bain, £2 2 7; Wm. Edies* 
widow, £1 3 1 ; Dond. M'Rob, £2 10 ; Thos. Mackay, 
£1 11 10; Wm. M'Eachan, £1 10 7; Dond. M'lye, 
£1 2 10; James Mackay of Skerray, £5 8 4. 

Auchtouty. James Mackay of Skerray £2 2 9. 

Clashadie. James Mackay of Skerray, £5 17. 


Skerray. James Mackaj of, for vicarage of Stranskerray etc., 

£2 ; do. for Skerray exclusive of wadset, £8 1 ; do. for rent 

of Lamigo mill, £3. 
Islandnaroan. Win. Mackay, 17/9; Geo. Mackay, 17/9; Win. 

M'Comash, 17/9; Neil M'Kenzie, 17/9. 
Scurlomy. Dond. H'Amish, £l 17 6; Hector Suthd., £1 17 6; 

Hector Roy, £1 17 6; Robert Stirling, £1 5; Hector 

Munro's widow, £1 5; Geo. Mackay, £1 17 6; Robert 

Munro, £1 5. 
Rhians of do. Alexr. Coardach, £17 6; Dond. Mackay, £1 7 6. 
Coldibacky. Win. Mackay, £1 15 2 ; Hugh Charleson, £18 1; 

Walter M'Rory, £18 1; John Mackay, £18 1; Hugh 

Coardach, £1 8 1 ; Win. Coardach, £11 1 ; John 

M'Curchie, £1 8 1 ; Geo. More, £18 1. 
Blandymore. Angus dow, £1 17 6. 
Blaxdybeg. George M'Leod, £15. 

Strathtongue. Alex. Clerk, £1 17 6; Dan. Reid, £1 17 6. 
Dalcharn. Alex. Mackay, £2 17 6 ; Dond. M'Rory, £2 17 6. 
Rhtetongue. Dond. More & son, £1 17 6; Andrew Ross, 

£1 5 ; Charles Morison, £1 5 ; Hugh M'Leod, £1 5. 
Blarmore. Robt. Buie, £12 3; Alex. Bain, £1 6 3. 
Tongue & Braetongue. Geo. Mackay of Bighouse, £29. 
Horsepark. do. do., 16/8. 

Driminriny. do. do., 13/7. 

Kirkiboll. Mr W. Mackenzie, mnr., £496; Wm. Mackay, 

£11 12 2; Hugh M'Leod, 11/2; Geo. Mackay, £1 2 4; 
Angus Munro, £1 2 4. 
Jnchverry. John Gordon, £2 10. 
Dhinnishaib. Mr W. Mackenzie, mnr., £1 10. 
Scrabstir. Dond. Ross, £2 17 6; James Suthd., £13 2; Wm. 
M'phadrick, £1 14 9; Wm. M'Rory, £268; Wm. 
Graisich, £1 14 9; John M'Alister, £1 3 2. 
Falishaid. Alex. Grant, £6 10. 


Rhiedokch. Dond. Oag, £2 2. 

Kixdside. Dond. Mackay, £9. 

Rhielaidax. John Mackay, £2 17 2; Angus M'Omash, £18 7; 

John M'Cutcheon, £1 8 7; Wm. Graisich, £2 17 2; 

Dond. M'Neil, £2 17 2. 
Auldluart. Dond. Munro, £5 4 5. 
Torxtarff. Dond. M'Leod's widow, £4 10 ; Neil Gun, £2 5 ; 

lye Campbell, £2 5. 
Lettermore. Win. M'Cutchion, £8 15 4; John Mackay, 

£4 13 10 ; John Gordon, £7 10 ; Hugh Mackay, £5 9 ; 

Murd. Mackay, £3 10 1. 
Culishaiu. Rob M'Donald, £1 17 1. 
Dixxachcorry. John Mackay 's widow, £.3 2. 
Rhians. Rob. Mackay, miller, £2 18 10 ; do. for mill rent, £16 ; 

Neil M' Angus, 11/9. 
Achaistle. Wm. Bain, £1 2 2. 
Blardow. Alex. Macleod, 8/. 
Riuigill &c. Dond. Forbes, £45 14 10. 
Kinlochmore. Angus M'Rob, £8 ; Peter Clark, £2. 
Kixlochbeg. Angus Mackay, £1 11 1 ; Dond. M'Leod's 

widow, 15/6; Wm. Roy, £1 11 1 ; Geo. M'Rob's widow, 

£10 9; Win. Gun, £1 5 11. 
Achorkery. Hugh Mackay, £16 8; John Mackay, £168; 

John Miller, £16 8. 
Achtraax. George M'Kenzie's widow, £4. 
Uxstephax. Robert Clerk, £3. 
Melxess. &c. Lieut. John Scobie, £33 10. 
Skixet. Elispale Morison, 12/6; Hugh Mackay, £1 1 10 ; Neil 

Aberach, 18/9 ; James Gun, 12/6 ; John Gordon, catechist, 

12/6 ; Hugh Aberaeh's widow, 12/6 ; Hugh Gun, 6/3; Rob. 

M'Hugh, 6/3 ; Geo. Gun, 18/9 ; Hugh M'Rob, £1 5 ; Colin 

Munro, 9/4; John Gordon, jr., boatman, £1 5; Rob. Gun, 

£1 5 ; Win. Gun, £1 5 ; Rob. M'Eau's widow, 12/6 ; Hugh 


Gun, £1 5; John Gordon, snr., boatman, 12 6; Rob. 

Morison, 12/6; lye Mackay, £1 5; Geo. Aberach, 18/9; 

Dond. Mackay, 12 6. 
Achnahoav. Win. Suthd., £1 17 6. 
Strathmelness. John Mackay, £21 10. 
Fresgill. Angus Munro, £2 ; Geo. Suthd., £2 ; Geo. M'Kay, 

£16 8; John Munro, 13/4 ; Dond. Suthd., £2. 
Hope & Inverhope. Don. M'Kay, £8 16 9 ; Dond. M'Leod, 

18/7; James M'Kay, 18/7; Bob. M'Kay, £1 17 2; Dod. 

M'Kay, 16/4; Ann Rose, 16/4; Dond. M'Rob, 13/11. 
Badilhavish. Murd. M'Kay, miller, £3 4 ; do. for mill 

rent, £10 2 6. 
Arxaboll. James M'Kay, £1 15 7; Hugh M,lntosh, £1 15 7; 

Neil M'Kay, £1 6 3 ; Hugh M'Ean's widow, £2 3 10. 
Htjileam. James Mackay, £2 18 3; Geo. Mackay, £2 9 11 ; 

Geo. M'Cutchion, £15; Murd. Mackay, £217; James 

Mackenzie, £217; Hugh Hughson, £1 133; Alex. 

Mackenzie, £1 13 3. 
Achlochy. John Mackay, £2 4 2. 
Bregisgill. James Mackay of Skerray, £3 16 8. 
Ebiboll &c. Dond. Mackay, £44 15 2. 
Badvoer. John Mackenzie, £4. 
Badnahachlash. Hugh Mackay, £1 15 6. 
Mdsskl. Hugh Mackay, £1 15 10; Angus Mackay 's widow, 

£1 15 10; Dond. Mackay, £1 3 11; John Mackenzie, 

£13 11; John Edgar, £1 3 11. 
C alder-Roy. Hugh Mackenzie, £1. 

Dalnahow. John Mackenzie, £1 12 6; Dond. M'Leod, 10/10. 
Atjldnacaillich. Rob. Reavach, £1 10 2; Dond. Mackay, 

£1 17 9; John Bain, £12 7. 
Lubvaik. Murd. Done, 17/. 
Strathmore. Geo. Morison, £2 15 10 ; Angus Roy, £1 19 2; 

Angus M'Kay, 18/4; John Mackay, 18/4; Hugh M'Angus, 


18/4; Murd. Bain, 18/4; Angus Oag, 18/4; Rob. 

M'pherson, 9/2 ; James M'Kenzie's widow, 9/2. 
Merkan. Lieut. John Scobie, Melness, £10 10. 
Keoldale &c. James Anderson, £36 13 6. 
Clashneach. James Clerk's widow, £14 14 5. 
Borley. John Mackay, £4 16 6. 
Uiebeg. Rob. Mackay, £4 6 11 ; Dond. MacCormaid, £1 13 8; 

Alex. Campbell, £1 6 11; Dond. Mackay, £10 3; John 

M'Ean, £1 6 11; Dond. Ross, £1 6 11; Lexy Fraser, 

£1 6 11. 
Craggywillin. Alex. Campbell, miller, £15 6; do. for mill 

rent, £15. 
Kxockbreack. Rob. Morison, £1 18 4 ; Dond. Mackay, 

£t 18 4; Dond. Morison, £1 18 4; Mr. John Thomson, 

mnr., excl. of glebe, £3 18 10. 
Balvultchbeg. Geo. Grange, £1 10; Angus Campbell, 15/7; 

Dond. M'Alister, 10/7; Chas. Campbell, £1 13 8 ; John 

M'Leod, £205; Mary Murray, 13/5; Dond. Sutherland, 

£1 6 11 ; lye Grange, £l 6 11 ; Alex. Pape, £1 2; 

Win. M'Custan, 6/9 ; Hugh Grange, £10 2; Angus 

M'Leod, 6/9 ; Win. M'Neil, £1 6 11 ; John M'Intosh 13/6. 
Sango. Rob. Mackay, merchant, Glasgow, £10 11 10. 
Achnahanaid. Wm. Mackay, £1 18 7 ; John Bain, £15 8; 

John M'Kenzie, £1 5 8; lye M'Comish's widow, 6/5; 

Alex. Beg's widow, 6/5. 
Achumore. Dond. Mackay, £1 11 3; John M'Pherson, £1 5; 

John M'Rory, 18/9. 
Auldandirg. Dond. Mackay, £1 2 2. 
Balnakeil &c. Rod. M'Leod, £133 2 9. 
Portcham:l &c. Dond. Mackay, Eriboll, £16 12 2. 
Rispond. The Fishing Co., £13 3 7. 
Scoury &c. George Mackay of Bighouse, £118 13 10. 
Phillinbeg. Mrs. Mackay of Auldany, £4. 


Glencoul. Hugh M'Leod, £9. 

West Kylestrom. Hugh Mackay, £30. 

East. do. The Fishing Co., £39 5 11. 

Duardmore. David Nicol, 14. 

Duardbeg. Alex. Mackay, £9. 

Attldring &c. Win. Munro of Achany, £35. 

Badoaul. Mr. Alex. Falconer, mnr., excl. of glebe, £5 11. 

Oldshoares. Dond. Forbes, Ribigill, £56 14 4. 

Salmon Fishing of Hope Water, £22 4. 
Salmon Fishing of Durness Water, £11 2 2. 
Salmon Fishing of Laxford Water, £16 13 4. 
Kelp shores of the estate, £44. 
Feu duty payable out of Halladale, 17/9. 

do. Strathy, £12 2. 

Wm. Gordon for rent of Ardbeg, Farr, £5. 

Gross rent 1 of estate as given in detail above, £1294 9 6. 

No. 65. Rent-PiOLL of Bighouse estate in 1819 : — 
BiGiiorsE Forsinain &c. Mr Robson, £550. 


Dyke. John Gunn, £28 ; Joseph M'Leod, £28 ; Joseph 
Mackay, £28. 

Bunahoun. Ken. Campbell, £6 10; Geo. M'Leod, £6 10. 

Trantlemore. Peter Spence, £2 10; Geo. Mackay, £5; Donald 
Sinclair, £12 10; Hugh Mackay, £5; Donald Mackenzie, 
£10 ; Joseph Gow, £5 ; Widow Mackay, £5. 

Khaire. C. & L. Gunn, £10; Hugh Mackay, £13. 

Aultwillan. Donald Macdonald, £17. 

Bighouse. Hugh Mackay, £1 11 6; Wm. M'Leod, £7 19; 

1. To save space we did not give fractions of a penny in recording the rents: this explains the 
small difference between the gross total and the recorded sums. 


Bain M'Leod, £6 6; Mackay, snr., £4 14 6; 

Nicol, £2 7 3 ; Robert Cooper, £3 3 ; Widow Rob, 

Mackay, £3 15 7; Widow Hector Munro, £3 15 7; John 

Munro, £3 15 7; Widow Hugh M'Leod, £3 15 7; John 

Macbeth, £10 10 ; Mackay Oag, £5 5. 
Trantlebeg. Wm. Sutherland, £3 13 10; John Macdonald, 

£14 15 5; Rob. Macdonald, £14 15 5; James Ross, 

£14 15 5. 
Croick. Alex. Mackay, £15; John Hossack, £1 17 6; Donald 

Mackinlay, £5 12 6 ; Widow A. Mackenzie, £7 10. 
Dalhalva. Colin Mackay, £9 ; Widow K. Mackay, £9 ; Angus 

Mackay, £9; Don. Campbell, £9 10. 
Craigton. Widow Macdonald, £5 10 ; Alex. Murray, £16 6 8 ; 

Geo. M'Leod, £834; Widow Ross, £G ; Robert 

Mackay, £6. 
Altsuisgil. Alex. Gunu, £11. 

Achawmand. Simpson, £8; Hugh Bain, £4 10. 

Caolfearx. Wm. Gunn, £4 10. 
Calgarybeg. Angus Mackay, £10. 
Coxigill. Don. Mackay, £12 ; Mackay Gow, £4. 

Dispolly. Hugh Mackay, £4 10; Mackenzie, £4 10; 

Hugh M'Laren, £18. 
Heavig. Wm. Gunn, £18; Sutherland, £18. 

Corkall. Charles M'Leod, £4 10; Geo. Cooper, £6 10; Hugh 

Mackay, £10 ; Widow K. M'Leod, £3 5 ; Geo. Mackay, jnr., 

£3 5 ; Angus Cooper, £10. 
Golval. Don. Mackay, £5 14; Angus Mackay, £5 14; Malcolm 

Fraser, £11 8; Joseph Mackay, £7 12; Stewart, 

£7 12; Angus Sutherland, £7 12; Wm. Campbell, smith, 

£1 18; Donald Angus, £1 18; Rod. Macdonald, £3 16; 

James Cooper, £1 4; Cameron, £3 16; Magnus 

Mackay, £7 12. 
N. Golval & Ton. Gabriel Reed, £160. 



Achridigil. Widow C. M'Leod, £3 ; Win. Bain, £6 ; Widow A. 
M'Leod, £6. 

Stroindow. Hugh Oag, £6. 

Achramscraig. Joseph Mackay, £6 6 ; Angus Mackay, £6 G ; 
Widow Macdonald, 15/. 

Melvich. James Cooper, £l 13 6 ; Widow Campbell, £2 ; Hugh 
Mackay, £3 ; Angus Bain, £3 ; Widow Cooper, £3 ; Angus 
M'Laren, £4 ; Hector Mackay, £2 ; Wm. Bain, £3 ; 
Campbell, £3 5 ; Angus Cooper, £3 5 ; Cameron, 

£3 5 ; Sergt. C. Sinclair, £15 ; Angus M'Leod, merchant, 
10/; Rob. Macdonald, £1 15; Fraser, £3; William 

Scott, £4 9. 

.Salmon Fishing. Messrs. Landels & Co., £150. 

Gross total rental £1566 18 8. 




P. 15, heading 1. 14, for III.— EAEY read III.— EARLY. 

P. 24, I. 32. Hugo Preskiu is the ancestor of the house of Sutherland. 
His son William, Lord of Sutherland (Willelmus, dominus de 
Suthyrlandia, filius et heres quondam Hugonis Freskyn), was 
father of William, 1st Earl of Sutherland. The latter died c. 1330 
(Introduction Cart. Mor.). 

P. 37, n. 1. 2, for littoralis read litteralis. 

P. 42, 1. 28, for his armed footmen read one footman armed. The Latin 
excerpt reads:— "King Roberts charter to Makai — reddendo- 
annuatim gueram nram. quando contigerit vnum peditum armatum 
cum sustentune sua quadraginta dierum, et faciendo forinsecum 
seruitium quantum pertinet ad dictam terram." 

P. 163, 1. under heading, for 1680-1786 read 1680-1748. 

P. 166, 1. 15, for imprisioned read imprisoned. 

P. 173, 1. 32, for colonly read colony. 

P. 178, 1. 14. Glenorclry and Breadalbane were but different designations 
of one and the same person, for in 1681 Sir John Campbell of 
Glenorchy was created Earl of Breadalbane. During the rebellion 
of 1715, after a good deal of double dealing, he sent 500 men to- 
join the Chevalier, and dying soon after escaped punishment (Scots 
Peerage, Vol II., pp. 203-4). 

P. 191. Fight at the Little Ferry. This engagement took place on 15 th 
April, 1746, i.e., on the day before Culloden, as the following entry 
on the fly-leaf of a list of men of the Sutherland estate capable of 
bearing arms in 1745, lying at Dunrobin Castle, shows: — "Men 
guarding passes from August, 1745, to 14th February, 1746 
(West). Men on duty from 15th April (day of attacking rebels) 
to 26th August, 1746." 

P. 238, 1. 13. Mr. John Mackay died at Hereford on 4th February, 1906, 
in his 84th year. 

P. 254, exc. 1. 3, after Helen delete all enclosed in hrackeU, and read Dr. 
George Macdonald, poet, novelist, and preacher, who died in Sept., 
1905, was the son of Helen (Mrs. Macdonald), dau. of Captain 
Alexr. Mackay, Duartbeg. 

P. 322, TABLE Q., for I. Angus, son of 2nd Ld. Reay, read I. Angus, son 
of 1st Ld. Reay. 



Aberach Macfcays, descent of, 61 ; kill John 
Beg, 108 ; at feud with Gunns, 109 ; their 
warfare in Strathnaver, 116; Neil MacEan 
Mac William, chieftain of, 122, 245 ; their 
lands in dispute, 141 ; Neil Williamson 
spoils Gruids, 145 ; is killed at Thurso, 146 ; 
his death avenged, 146 ; they favour the 
covenanters, 164 ; take revenge on a sheriff- 
depute, 175 ; genealogical account of, 242 
seq.; banner of, 269 seq.; a family dispute, 

Achmonie Mackays, 365. 

Aed, earl of Moray, 21. 

Aldicharrish, battle of, 70. 

Altgawn, battle of, 112. 

Alexr. II., king of Scots, and his enemies, 26, 36. 

Angus, earl of, killed at Steinkirk, 172. 

Angus VI., of .Strathnaver, 52, 53. 

Angus, mormaer of Moray, 22. 

Angus Du VII. , 19, 30; joins earl of Mar, 55; 
leagued with lord of the Isles, 55; spoiled 
Moray and Caithness, 56 ; at Inverness 
parliament, 57 ; killed at Tongue, 60 ; 
marriages and children of, 61 seq.; charter 
to, 375. 

Angus Roy IX., assists Keiths against Gunns, 
67 ; burnt in Tarbet church by Rosses, 63. 

Aodh, forms of the name, 5, 6. 

Argyle, earl of, 73, 76, 120, 125. 

earl of, meets Mar at Sheriffmuir, ISO. 

Mackays, account of, 360 seq. 

Arran, earl of, attacked by lye Mackay, 95. 

Balveny, surprise at, 147. 

Banner of Aberach Mackays, 269 seq. 

Barbara, Lady Reay, 150 n, 156, 163. 

Ben Reay papers, 4. 

Bighouse Mackays, genealogical account of, 
302 seq. 

rentroll of estate of, 480. 

BlackcastleMS., 3, 15, 16. 

Bond of friendship, Mackay and Sutherland, 
3S4, 3S5, 387, 451. 

Mackay and others, 397. 

Reay and Seaforth, 431, 439. 

Boitzenburg defended, 133. 

Borve Castle battered, 98. 

Braes of Angus, 49, 52, 53. 

Brandy wrecked on Strathnaver coast, 157 n. 

Breadalbane, earl of, 178, 483. 

Bruce and Bannockburn, 42 ; and Galloway 
Mackays, 351 seq. 

Edward, 40. 

Bute Mackays, 4, 42, 362. 

Caithnessmen and Mar rebellion, 17S ; and the 
'45 rebellion, 1S9. 

Caithness, extent of, anciently, 27. 

bishop of, 7, 31, 37, 3S, 85, 91, 96. 

George, 4th earl of, summoned before 

Huntly, 98 ; allied to lye Mackay, 104 ; at 
feud with Sutherland, 107 ; guardian of 
Huistean Du XIII., 108. 

-5th earl of, 109, 113, 119, 122; at 


127 ; suffers for arson at Sandside, 128 ; 

draws to Mackay, 129 ; seeks assistance 

against Strathnaver men, 146. 
Cameron, Allan, of Lochiel, 125. 
Campbell, sir J., of Cawdor, 86, 87. 
Canon, general, 170. 
Chein, Reginald, 56 n, 67, 89. 
Church lands and Scots nobles, 138. 
Clan Mackay society, 239. 
Clan Morgan, 12; lands of, in Moray anil 

Buchan, 14 ; in Sutherland, 15, 24, 44, 48, 53. 
Cock fighting and school fees, 213. 
Coming of the sheep, 237. 
Commonwealth troops in the north, 151, 161. 
Corrichie, battle of, 100. 
Count Mansfield, 131. 
Covenanter refugees in Strathnaver, 164. 
Crawford, lord, 139 seq. 
Crinan, abbot of Dunkeld, 9. 
Cromartie, earl of, 189. 
Cromdale, battle of, 171. 
Cromwell and Reay's attendant, 150. 
Culloden, battle of, 191. 
Darien expedition, 173 seq. 
David I., king of Scots, 21. 

II., king of Scots, 46. 

Deportation of Moraymen, 23. 
Donald III., of Strathnaver, 41 seq* 

V., of Strathnaver, 45, 50, 51. 

lord of the Isles, 55. 

Balloch of Scoury, 108, 122, 286. 

Douglas, earl of Angus, 86, 87, 95. 
Drum nan Coup, battle of, 59, 60, 63. 
Duffus murdered, 85. 

gets nonentry of Mackay's lands, 89. 

Duncan, king of Scots, 20. 

Dundee, rising under, 167 ; killed, 169. 

Dunkeld, battle of, 170. 

Durness, church lands of, 31, 37, 115 ; baptismal 

register of, 210. 
Dutch'Mackays, genealogical account of, 339 seq. 

States, Strathnaver men in, 157, 195. 

Edinburgh Sutherland Association, 239. 

Elcho, lord, 144. 

Elder, John, clerk, 94 n. 

Elizabeth, queen of England, 120. 

Elphingstone, Alexr., lord, 117, 121. 

Esson family, 366. 

Evictions in shire of Sutherland, 230 ; results of, 

237 ; military spirit damped by, 238. 
Farquhar of Melness, 19, 46, 48 and n, 76, 248, 

363; charters to, 370, 371. 

Macintagart of Ross, 16, 35, 39. 

Farr, barony of, created, 30, 88. 

Fife adventurers in the Lews, 120. 

Findlater, letter of, on Rob Donn, 208. 

Fiscary, battle of, 25. 

Fishing company in Strathnaver, 221, 227. 

Flodden, battle of, 69, 76. 

Forbes, relation of, to Mackay, 8, 13, S6, 87, 100, 

]03, 104. 

cornyard of, burnt at Sandside, 127. 

lady, intercedes for 1st lord Reay, 140. 

master of, assisted by Mackay, 86', 




executed on charge of treason, 87 and n. 

Forbes, William, editor of House of Forbes, 7. 

Foi-t George, life in, 218. 

Fraser, sir William, 15, 77, 82, 91. 

Frederick, elector palatine, 131. 

Freebooting Mackays, 182 n. 

French ship and treasure captured at Tongue, 

war, effect of, on the Highlands, 222, 230. 

Freskin of Moray, 24. 

Gairloch, blind piper of, 158. 

Galloway Mackays, 5, 36, 347 seq. 

G inkle, general, in Ireland, 172. 

Glands, lady of, SO. 

Glencairn, earl of, 90, 95. 

Glenshiel, battle of, 181. 

Gordons, advent of, to Sutherland, 79; how 
secured lands and title there, 80 ; a plot of, 
91 ; another plot, 103. 

Gordon of Embo, 125. 

duke of, and his regiment, 217. 

— sir Robert, 6, 15, ifi, 18, 61, 70, 77, 81, 84, 

92, 118, 121, 125; tutor of Sutherland, 128; 
invaded Caithness, 130; forges writing of 
Mackay, 137, 421 ; seeks damages of Reay 
for spoils, 149 ; farewell letter of, 422. 

Grays of Sutherland, 147, 154. 

Gunns at feud with Keiths, 67 ; crowner killed, 
68 ; MS. account of, 82 ; feud with Aberachs, 
109; conspiracy against, 111; lay Caithness 
waste, 116 ; descent of Machamish family of, 
124 ; accused of Sandside arson, 127. 

Haddington charters, 42. 

Hakon, earl of Orkney, 10. 

king of Norway, 39. 

Halmadary, lapse of, 185 seq. 

Hamilton, James, marquis of, 135, 136; duke of, 
executed, 146. 

Hanoverian king, 177. 

Harold, earl of Caithness, 24 seq. 

Harpsdale Hill, battle of, 56. 

Hebrides in revolt, 75, 76, 120. 

Herison, Mrs., and lord Reay, 136. 

Holland and Strathnaver men, 195. 

Hugo, of Sutherland, 24. 

Huistean Du XIII., head of divided clan, 108; 
his breach with Aberachs, 109, 122 ; league 
with Caithness and Gunn, 110; conduct at 
Marie, 113 ; joins Sutherland, 114 ; at spoil 
of Wick, 115 ; fought at Brora, and invaded 
Caithness, 116 ; his stand at Ben Griam, 
119 ; sends levy to Ireland and Hebrides, 
120 ; dispute as to marches, 121 ; assumes 
name Mackay-Forbes, 121 ; marriage and 
children, 123 seq.; charter to, 412. 

Huntly, earl of, expedition to the Lews, 75. 

Alexr., earl of, his conduct as sheriff of 

the north, SO. 

earl of, and Sutherland, 87. 

George, 4th earl of, his mission to France, 

96 ; expedition to Moidart, 98 ; arraigned in 
his coffin, 100. 

5th earl of, and superiority of 

Strathnaver, 4S ??., 78, 81, 101 seq. 

6th earl of, gives superiority of 

Strathnaver to Sutherland, 109 ; gets com- 
mission to the Lews, 120 ; worries Lochiel, 

earl of, shelters in Strathnaver, 144; is 

beheaded, 146. 

Ian Aberaeh, 59 n ; fought near Tongue, 60 ; son 
of Angus Du, 61 ; governed Strathnaver, 63 ; 
fought at Tor, 64; fought at Sandside, 65; 

his children, 244. 

Innes of Sandside, 137, 421. 

Irish refugees in Strathnaver, 145, 164. 

Islay Mackays, 4, 41, 362. 

lye of Gigha, daughter of, 41. 

IV., 44 seq.; feud with Sutherland, 45; 

murdered at Dingwall, 45, 47. 

Du XII., at Solway Moss, 90, 94 ; attacks 

regent Arran at Glasgow, 95 ; at capture of 
Haddington, 95 ; serves with English, 96 ; 
besieged at Borve Castle, 98 ; provides 
escort for queen Mary, 99 ; superiority of 
his lands given to Huntly, 101; raids 
Sutherland, 102 ; secures Strathnaver, 103 ; 
scourges Sutherland, 105 ; his power of 
endurance, 105 ; remission to, 39S ; contract 
with Huntly, 399 ; charter to, 406 ; discharge 
to, 406 ; sasine to, 408. 

MacEth I., 35 seq. 

Mor II., marriage of, 37; fights Norse- 
men, 39. 

Roy X., claims Coigach, 72 ; at feud with 

the Rosses, 73 ; gets gift from the king, 74 ; 
expedition to the Lews, 75 ; gets nonentry 
of lands, 76; at Flodden, 76; bond with 
Sutherland, 77, SO ; his family, 78, 102 ; arms 
of, 279 ; royal precept to, 376 ; charter of 
lands of Dilred to, 379 ; gift of nonentry to, 
380 ; proenratory to, 381 ; bond by, 384. 

James, earl of Moray, S9. 

Joanna, lady of Strathnaver, 31, 90. 

John Mor, children of, 85 n; governs Strath- 
naver, 10S. 

Keiths in Caithness, 67. 

Kennedy of Girvamnains, 9S. 

Kenneth Macalpine, king of Scots, 20. 

Killicrankie, battle of, 169. 

King Charles II., landing of, 150; his trust in 
Reay, 152. 

Christian IV., of Denmark, 132. 

Gustavus Adolphus, of Sweden, 134, 136. 

Henrv VIII. , of England, 94. 

— James V., 87, 8S, 102. 

-VI. , early reign of, 107 ; gives 

charter of regality to Sutherland, US. 
-Robert II., friendly to Mackay, 46. 

Kintail, erection of parish, 429. 

La Tom Fraoich, battle of, 112. 

Lake, general, in Ireland, 226. 

Laud's liturgy and its result, 137. 

Leckmelm, battle of, 112. 

Lenox, earl of, 90, 95. 

Leslie, general, at Newcastle, 139 seq. 

Letter of mrs. Mackay, of Skerray, 465. 

Lindsav, lady Mary, 128 

Little Ferry,' battle of, 191. 

Livingston, sir T., 170. 

Loch, James, 29, 30. 

Lovat, lord, S5, 125, 145, 155, 156, 188. 

Lulach, of Moray, 21 and n. 

Macbain, Alexr., LL.D., 6, 13. 

Macbeth, king of Scots, 20, 21. 

MacCorichie, Donald, of Melness, 19, 76, 364, 

382 n. 
Macdonald, of Barisdale, 187, 189. 

Alexr., of Keppoch, 61, 242. 

sir Donald, of Lochalsh, 76. 

of Clanranald, 179. 

John, MS. of, 217, 21S n, 227. 

Macdonalds of Isles, ancient arms of, 285. 
MacEth, Ivel., 35, 36. 

Malcolm, earl of Ross, 11, 15, 16, 22, 23, 35. 

MacEths of Moray, 20 seq. ; table of descent of, 27. 



Macintosh and Mackay, 71, 96, 100, 113, 115. 

Lauchlan, 162. 

Maclsaac, 5 n. 

Mack family, 366. 

Mackay, old MS. History of, 3, 16 ; forms of the 
name, 4 seq.; slogan of, 282. 

of Borley at battle of Worcester, 151. 

captain the hon. rEneas, imprisoned, 166 ; 

his descendants, 339 seq. 

-Eneas, sheriff of Fife, 2, 11. 

Alexr., of Blackcastle, 3, 16. 

■ general the hon. Alexr., 218 ; humanity of, 

as tutor of Reay, 219 seq. 

Brian, in Isla, charter to, 372. 

■ Donald XI. 2, assists Forbes, S6 ; joins 

king on cruise, SS ; gets charter to lands, 
SS ; settles with Duffus, 89 ; at Muster of 
Lauder, 90 ; at Girnigoe meeting, 92 ; raided 
Boss, 92 ; his children, 93 ; charter to, 3SS ; 
sasine to, 391 ; letters by, 395 ; charter to, 
396 ; gift of nonentry to, 396. 

XIV., goes to Lochaber, 125; 

apprehends Smyth at Thurso, 126 ; opposed 
the earl of Caithness, 127 ; gets remission 
for slaughter at Thurso, 413 ; tack of tenuis 
to, 414 ; knighted, 128. 

sir Donald, draws away from Gordon, 128; 

expedition with Caithness proposed, 129 ; 
buys lands of Moidart, 131 ; raises troops 
for foreign service, 132 ; wounded at Olden- 
burg, 133 ; returns to recruit men, 133 ; 
charters to, 418 ; created lord Reav, 134. 

George, of Skibo, 193, 216, 217. 

general Hugh of Scoury, 164 seq.; how 

improved Scots brigade, 165 ; appointed 
commander-in-chief of Scotland, 166 ; joined 
bv Strathnaver men, 107 ; in difficulty at 
Kingussie, 16S ; at Killicrankie, 169 ; builds 
forts, 171 ; takes part in quelling Irish 
rebellion, 171 ; killed at Steinkirk, 172 ; his 
family, 290. 

James, of Skerray, 217. 

— John XI. i., bond with Sutherland, 81 seq. ; 
bond with master of Sutherland, 84 ; his 
children, S5. 

-Gruamach, 40. 

-Hereford, 238. 

-Rivach, at Flodden, 76. 

rev. Macintosh, 206, 233 n, 234. 

Murdo, disposition of, 441. 

Robert, author of House and Clan of 

Mackai/, 1. 

Thomas, of Creich, 19, 50, 57, 58. 

William, of Bighouse, 108, 111, 112, 302. 

Mackenzie, of Kintail, 09, 125, 142. 

of Redcastle, 113. 

of Gairloch, 125. 

of Pluscardin, 147. 

Mackeii7.ies and Mackays take Inverness, 146. 

Mackie family, 306. 

Maclauchlan, Thomas, LL.D., 11, 32. 

Maclean of Duart, 87 seq. 

Macleod, Donald Neilson, of Assint, 120. 

Hush, of Assint, 78. 

Neill, of Assint, 93. 

Malcolm, of Lews, 54. 

Torquil of Lews, 53, 

of Lews, 75. 

Macleods of Assint, 82, 108, 110, 119, 150, 168, 280. 

of Lews, 121. 

Macleod, lord, in Caithness, 189, 191; his 

regiment, 218. 
Makghie, Alexr., charter to, 411. 

Malcolm II., king of Scots, 20. 

TIL, king of Scots, 21. 

Mar rebellion, 177 seq. 

Marie affair, 113. 

Mary, queen, gives remission to lye Du, 95 and 

n, 100 ; gives Strathnaver lands to Darnley, 

then to Huntlv, 101 ; legitimacy of her son 

by Darnley, 102. 
Mathiesons, 53, 57, 109. 
M'Cay, Donald, confirmed crowner, 417. 

Gilchristj charter to, 370. 

Mor, Ewir, confirmed crowner, 394. 

Melness Mackavs, genealogical account ofi 

321 seq. 
Middlemore, Thomas, of Melsetter, 2. 
Middleton, general, lands at Unes, 152 ; in 

Caithness, 153. 
Militia of Sutherlandshire, 227. 
Modan of Caithness, 9, 10, 14. 
Montrose and the covenanters, 13S n ; defeated, 

145 ; in Caithness, 149 ; executed, 150. 
Moray, Alexr., of Cubin, 54. 

Angus, of Cubin, 50, 58, 59, 60. 

Morrison, Hew, on Rob Donn, 207. 
Mowat, of Freswick, 57. 
Munro. clan, and religion, 142. 

of Contalich, 113, 115, 119. 

sir George, of Cuhuin, 152, 155, 160, 163, 


sir Hector, deed of, 425. 

-rev. Alexr., Durness, 164. 

Naver Bay, its importance of old, 32. 

Newcastle defended by Reay, 139 seq. 

Nicholson, David, disposition of, 442. 

Neil Vass, escape of, 65 ; his issue, 66. 

Norwegian earls of Caithness, arms of, 285. 

Oldenburg Pass, battle of, 133. 

Orange, emissaries of prince of, in Scotland, 166. 

Ottar, earl of Thurso, 10. 

Poison Mackays, 50, 51, 364. 

Presbytery of Tongue erected, 1S2 ; parishes of, 
196 ; minute of, 447 ; congratulations of, to 
Cumberland, 453. 

Privy Council, 120, 137. 

Psalm singing, 196. 

Reay, Donald, 1st lord, 12 ; patent of nobility 
to, 419 ; joins kiug of Sweden, 134 ; in 
difficulty about Hamilton, 135 ; great loss 
thereby, 136 ; before the Privy Council, 137 ; 
relation with covenanters, 138 ; imprisoned 
in Edinburgh, 139 ; holds Newcastle for the 
king, 139 seq.; dispute witli Sutherland, 140 ; 
died in Denmark, 141 ; his children, 142 seq.; 
armorial bearings of, 278 ; letter complaining 
of Gordon, 421 ; bond with Seaforth, 431. 

John, 2nd lord, captured at Aberdeen, 

138, 144 ; enters Inverness, 147 ; captured at 
Balveny, 147; signs blank bonds, 147 seq.; 
escapes from prison, 150 ; joins Middleton, 
152 ; ravages Sutherland, 153 ; lands of, 
apprised, 154 ; visited by Lovat, 155 seq.; 
bond with Seaforth, 156, 439 ; his fool, 156 n; 
his children, 157 ; letter of, to King Charles 
II., 433; agreement with Monck, 434; tack 
of teinds to, 436 ; letters of tire and sword 
to, 440. 

Donald, master of, marries, 159 ; 

endeavours to free his estate, 160 ; action at 
law begun, 160 ; accidentally killed, 161. 

George, 3rd lord, frees the estate, 163 ; 

goes to Holland, 172 ; kindness of his uncles, 
173 ; marrried in Holland, 176 ; helps to put 
down Mar rebellion, 179 ; his men do garrisor 



duty, 1S1 ; plants churches and schools, 183, 

192 ; reconciliation with .Sutherland, 186 ; 

activity during the '45 rising, 1S9 ; his family, 

192 seq.; letter of, on Fair glebe, 443; 

document of, regarding erection of parishes, 

444 ; letter of, to sheriff of Caithness, 44S ; 

letter of, to Sutherland, 450 ; bond with 

Sutherland, 451 ; letter anent Culloden, 456. 
Reay, Donald, 4th lord, goes to Holland, 195 ; 

estate arrangement, 203 ; his character, 203 

George, 5th lord, and estate, 203, 213 sea.; 

arrangement with factor, 211 ; untimely 

death, 214. 
Hugh, 6th lord, accident to, 216; his 

curators, 216 ; condition of tenants, 219. 
Eric, 7th lord, and his papers, 2 ; rise of 

rents on estate of, 230 ; how made up title, 

232 ; sale of his estate, 233, 469. 
— Alexr., 8th lord, 234. 
-Eric, 9th lord, and passing of title to 

Dutch Mackays, 236. 
Reay Fencibles, raising of, 222 seq.; service of, 

in Ireland, 225 ; their character, 226 seq. 

papers, finding of, 2. 

estate described, 460 ; sale of, 469. 

Regality of Sutherland, 46, 4S n, 117, 118. 
Religion in Strathnaver, 182, 198. 
Rent-roll of Reay estate, 471, 475. 

of Bighouse estate, 480. 

Roads in the north, 222 ; road acts for Suther- 
land, 229 ; survey of roads, 463. 
Rob Donn the poet, 205 seq. 
Ross, earldom of, dispute about, 72. 

Alexr., earl of, 55. 

Christina, of Pitcallion, 164, 

Rosses at feud with Mackay, 68 ; overthrow of, 

at Aldicharrish, 70 ; secure lands from the 

king, 71 ; raise law action against Mackays, 

73 ; raided by Mackays, 73 ; again raided by 

Mackays, 93. 
S.P.C.K., work of, in Strathnaver, 19S seq., 213, 

223 seq. 
Sabbath keeping in 17th century, 1S3. 
Sage, rev Aeneas, Lochcarron, ISO. 
Sandside Chase, battle of, 65 and it. 
Sandwood Mackays, genealogical account of, 

329 seq. 
Sconce built in Strathnaver, 149. 
Scots brigade in Holland, 164, 165 ; Mackays and 

it, 166 n, 195. 
Scoury Mackays, genealogical account of, 2S6 seq. 
Seaforth and the covenanters, 138 ; renounces 

wadset of Skelpick, 42S ; bond of, with 

Reay, 431. 

bond of, with Reay, 439. 

and the Mar rebellion, 178 seq. 

Seaton, of Meldrum, slain, 86. 

Sellar, Pat., and evictions, 230 ; letter of, 466. 

Sheriffnmir, battle of, ISO. 

Sheriff-depute of Strathnaver choked, 175. 

Sinclair of Brims, 123. 

of Dunbeath, 168. 

lady Elizabeth, 114 and u, 123. 

Helen, charter to, 393. 

James, of Murkle, 116, 130. 

Sinclairs enraged at Mackays, 126 ; get letters 

of fire and sword, 154 ; blunder and suffer, 


Skehloch, rev. John, Farr, 185 and n. 

Skibo lands come to Mackay, 193 n. 

Skene, Dr. W. F., 6, 9, 11, 32. 

Smith, Arthur, killed at Thurso, 126. 

Solway Moss, battle of, 90, 94. 

Somerled of Argyle, 10, 22. 

St. Maolrubha, 77 n. 

Stafford, Marquis of, 232, 233 n, 236. 

Statutes of Icolumkill, 122 n. 

Steinkirk, battle of, 172. 

Stewart, Duncan, son of earl of Buchan, 52. 

Stornoway castle battered, 75. 

Strathriete lands, 77, 81, S3, 102. 

Strathnaver, rebellion in, 26 ; extent of, 28, 29 ; 

superiority of, 101, 109, 110 and v, 114, 119 ; 

catechists of, 199, 202 ; church discipline in, 

200 ; church life in, 201 ; social life in, 211 

seq.; military tastes of people of, 212, 227 ; 

scholastic attainments in, 224. 
Mackays, 4; early genealogy of, 15 seq.; 

comparative tables of, 17 ; also styled of 

Far, 30 ; key pedigrees of, 97, 197. 
Strathy Mackays, genealogical account of, 

310 seq. 
Stuart, editor of Book of Deer, II, 13. 

Andrew, bishop of Caithness, 84, S9. 

Robert, bishop of Caithness, 91, 

Sutherland of Dilred executed, 74. 

of Dunbeath, 6 and n. 

countess of, and covenanters, 164. 

earl of, married Margaret Bruce, 46. 

earl of, 78, 79, 81, S4, 98 seq.; condemned 

to death, 100. 
earl of, 139, 140, 141 ; covets Aberach lands, 

145 ; complains of losses, 148, 149. 

earl of, and Mar rebellion, 178 seq.; 

earl of, and '45 rebellion, 1S7 and n. 

Alexr., disinherited, 82. 

Alexr., earl of, 107, 109, 110, 113, 122. 

Nicholas, 45, 46, 56. 

Robert, earl of, 52, 63. 

"William, earl of, 52. 

family, land purchases of, 236, 237 n. 

Sutherland lands, wasted, 153. 

Sutherland Highlanders or 93rd, 228. 

Swedish Mackays, genealogical account of, 

343 seq. 
Tack to Mackay of Bighouse, 457. 
Tannach Moor, battle of, 68. 
Tara Hill, battle of, 226. 
Tarbet, viscount, 176. 
Tenants and forced labour, 219, 229. 

of Kinloch, report regarding, 467. 

Thirty years' war felt in Strathnaver, 131. 

Tom an Dris, battle of, 64. 

Torran Du, battle of, 82. 

Troops of Montrose land at Thurso, 149. 

Tuiteam Tarvach, battle of, 54. 

Ugadale Mackays, 5, 17, 40, 88, 360 seq. 

Urquhart, sir Thomas, of Cromarty, 7, S. 

Wages in the 17th century, 184, 212. 

Walter, bishop of Caithness, IS, 35, 37, 41. 

Wardlaw MS., 157 n. 

Western Mackays, 360 seq. 

Wick sacked, 115. 

William Lyon, king of Scots, 25, 35. 

prince of Orange, 164 seq. 

Wishart, rev. William, letter of, 446. 
Wolf of Badenoch, 6, 48, 363 n. 


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Mackay, Hugh, Esqr., Ardbana Terrace, Coleraine, Ireland. 

Mackay, Hugh, Esqr., advocate, Street R'y B'ld'g, Montreal, Canada. 

Mackay, Hugh, Esqr., Willard, Ogden, Utah, U.S.A. 

Mackay, Hugh Ross, Esqr., 127 Mid wood St., Brooklyn, U.S.A. 

Mackay, Rev. Jas. Aberigh, D.D., Boscombe, Hants. (10 copies.) 

Mackay, James, Esqr., 1 St. George Terrace, Regent Park Rd., 

Mackay, James R., Esqr., 26 Chalmers St., Edinburgh. 
Mackay, James F., Esqr., W.S., Whitehouse, Cramond Bridge, 

Mackay, Lieut.-Col. James L. Aberigh, Naval and Military Club, 

Mackay, James B., Esqr., 33 Canfield Ave. W., Detroit, Mich., U.S.A. 
Mackay, James, Esqr., barrister, Prince Albert, Sack., Canada. 
Mackay, James, Esqr., stationer, Box 144, Prince Albert, Sack., 

Canada. (4 copies.) 
Mackay, James, Esqr., Seend Manor, near Melksham, Wilts. 
Mackay, Jas., Esqr., per Messrs Turnbull & Co., 4 Lloyd's Ave., 

Mackay, Dr. J. L., King's Mountain, N.C., U.S.A. 
Mackay, J. S., Esqr., Commercial Bank House, Grangemouth. 
Mackay, J. B., Esqr., Glenelg, Helensburgh. 
Mackay, J. W., Esqr., barrister, Pictou, N.S., Canada. 
Mackay, Rev. J. M'G, New Glasgow, N.S., Canada. 
Mackay, J. F., Esqr., manager, " The Globe," Toronto, Canada. 
Mackay, J. F., Esqr., book-keeper, Pictou, N.S., Canada. 
Mackay, J. G., Esqr., The General Stores, Portree. 
Mackay, Miss Jessie, Avonside Cottage, Christchurch, N.Z. 
Mackay, John, Esqr., 4 Battery St., Victoria, B.C., Canada. 
Mackay, John, Esqr., 25 Lutton Place, Edinburgh. 
Mackay, Dr. John Yule, Principal of University College, Dundee. 
Mackay, Rev. John, Crombagh, Inverness. 


Mackay, John, Esqr., C.E., Reay House, Hereford. (2 copies.) 
Mackay, John, Esqr., C.E., Llanwye, Hampton Park, Hereford. 
Mackay, John H. A., Esqr., c/o Sun Life As. Co., Montreal, Canada. 
Mackay, Rev. John, 62 St. Luke St., Montreal, Canada. 
Mackay, John, Esqr., S.S.C., 37 York Place, Edinburgh. 
Mackay, John, Esqr., 10 Bute Mansions, Glasgow. (3 copies.) 
Mackay, John, Esqr., Rosebank, Broughty Ferry. 
Mackay, John, Esqr., Laburnum Villa, Stromness. 
Mackay, John Kenneth, Esqr., Cangon, Dungog, N.S.W., Australia. 
Mackay, John A., Esqr., publisher, Windsor, Out, Canada. 
Mackay, Rev. Dr. John R., Glen Falls, N.Y., U.S.A. 
Mackay, John D., Esqr., 42 Home Bank B'Id'g, Detroit, Mich., U.S.A. 
Mackay, John A., Esqr., Eddy B'Id'g, Saginaw, Mich., U.S.A. 
Mackay, John S., Esqr., 28 Main St., Hackensack, N.J., U.S.A. 
Mackay, John, Esqr., Savings Bank, Niagara Falls, N.Y., U.S.A. 
Mackay, John Hall, Esqr., 364 Lexington Ave., New York. 
Mackay, Joseph, Esqr., C.E., Sutherland House, Bangkok, Siam. 
Mackay, Kenneth, W. , Esqr., County clerk, St. Thomas, Montreal, 

Mackay, Kenneth, Esqr., 64 Main St, Yonkers, N.Y., U.S.A. 
Mackay, L. M., Esqr., accountant, Commercial Bank, Edinburgh. 
Mackay, Dr. Murdo, 24 Anderton Rd., Birmingham. 
Mackay, Miss Margaret, M'Gill Uuiversity Library, Montreal, Canada. 
Mackay, Mr., bookseller, High St., Inverness. (2 copies.) 
Mackay, The Misses, Roseville, Grangemouth. 
Mackay, Rev. Neil, U.F. Manse, Croick, Ross. 
Mackay, Mrs. Neil M., 74 Seymour St, Portman Square, London. 
Mackay, Neil, Esqr., 14 Princes' Rd., Holland Park, London. 
Mackay, Norman, Esqr., c/o Messrs Sainsbury Logan & Williams, 

Napier, N. Zealand. 
Mackay, P. Mesher, Esqr., Dilred, Hilversum, Holland. 
Mackay, P. C. C, Esqr., Bank manager, Nowra, N.S.W., Australia. 
Mackay, Rev. Dr. Patrick, U.F. Manse, Wick. 


Mackay, Dr. R. J., 10/ Fonshill Rd., Finsbury Park, London. 
Mackay, R. Gordon, Esqr., 16 Court St., Brooklyn, U.S.A. 
Mackay, Richard A., Esqr., 310 Crapo B'ld'g, Bay City, Mich., U.S.A. 
Mackay, Robert White, Esqr., 133 Hamilton Place West, Aberdeen. 
Mackay, Robert Gunn, Esqr., 22 Amhurst Park, London, N. 
Mackay, The Hon. Robert, senator, Montreal, Canada. (2 copies.) 
Mackay, Robert, Esqr., manufacturer, 25 Gordon St., Glasgow. 
Mackay, Robert C, Esq., Gow's Creek, Waikaia, Southend, N.Z. 
Mackay, Dr. Roderick, Stafford Rd., Halifax, Yorks. 
Mackay, S. G., Esqr., barrister, Woodstock, Out., Canada. 
Mackay, Thomas, Esqr., 14 Wetherby Place, South Kensington, 

Mackay, Thomas, Esqr., 35 Main St., Largs. 
Mackay, Thomas A., Esqr., 22 Clarance St., Edinburgh. 
Mackay, Thomas J., Esqr., Amberson Ave., Pittsburg, Pa., U.S.A. 
Mackay, U. F., Esqr., 320 Citizens' B'ld'g, Cleveland, Ohio, U.SA. 
Mackay, W. D., Esqr., Box 76, Alexander, Man., Canada. 
Mackay, W. G., Esqr., Rosemount, Broomieknowe, Midlothian. 
Mackay, W. M., Esqr., Vailima, New Ferry Park, New Ferry, 

Mackay, Rev. W., Presbyterian Church, Abbotsford, B.C., Canada. 
Mackay, Rev. W. Macintosh, 5 Westfield Terrace, Aberdeen. 
Mackay, Dr. W. B., 23 Castlegate, Berwick-on-Tweed. 
Mackay, W. H., Esqr., Anambah, West Maitland, N.S.W., Australia. 
Mackay, W., Esqr., 5 Trafalgar Terrace, Redcar, Yorks. 
Mackay, W. Malcolm, Esqr., lumber-merchant, St. John, N.B., 

Mackay, W. J., Esqr., Springfield Ins. Co., Springfield, Mas. U.S.A. 
Mackay, W. H., Esqr., 149 Broadway, New York, U.S.A. 
Mackay, Wallace, Esqr., 3G High St., Exeter. 
Mackay, Walter R. T., Esqr., Bank of Madras, Madras, India. 
Mackay, William, Esqr., solicitor, Inverness. 
Mackay, William, Esqr., J.P., Trowbridge, Wilts. 


Mackay, Dr. William Alexr., Huelva, Spain. (2 copies.) 

Mackay, William, Esqr., 10 Spence St., Edinburgh. 

Mackay, William, Esqr., Newlands, Farr, Strathnaver. 

Mackay, Dr. William, Greymouth, New Zealand. 

Mackay, William N. J., Esqr., Lincoln Rd., Napier, N.Z. 

Mackay, William, Esqr., Paikakariki, Wellington, N.Z. 

Mackay, William, Esqr., book-keeper, Winnipeg, Man., Canada. 

Mackay, William H., Esqr., Rat Portage, Ont., Canada. 

Mackay, William, Esqr., 233 President St., Brooklyn, U.S.A. 

Mackay, William M., Esqr., 66 St. James St., Newark, N. J., U.S.A. 

Mackaye, Harold S., Esqr., 82 North St., New York, U.S.A. 

Mackie, P. Jaffrey, Esqr., Corraith, Symington, Ayrshire. 

Mackie, Alex. George, Esqr., St. Dunstan's, Muswell Hill, Middlesex. 

M'Kie, John, fleet-engineer, R.N., Anchorlee, Kirkcudbrightshire. 

M'Kie, Norman, Esqr., Glen Innes, N.S.W., Australia. 

Mackenzie, Aeneas Mackay, Esqr., 32 James St., Stornoway. 

Mackenzie, Mackay D. Scobie, Esqr., 20 The Mall, Clifton, Bristol. 

Mackenzie, William, Esqr., 14 Westhall Gardens, Edinburgh. 

Mackenzie, Rev. W. D. A., U.F. Manse, Strathconan, Muir of Ord. 

Mackinnon, Professor Donald, of Celtic chair, Edinburgh. 

Maclennan, Mrs. W. A., Bank of New Zealand, Lyttelton, N.Z. 

Macleod, Donald, Esqr., M.A., Silverton Hill, Hamilton. 

Macleod, Norman, Esqr., publisher, 25 George IV. Bridge, 

Edinburgh. (7 copies.) 
Macleod, Rev. Walter, 112 Thirlestane Rd., Edinburgh. 
Macniven & Wallace, publishers, 138 Princes St., Edinburgh. (2 

Martin, Mrs. Oscar T., Ohio, U.S.A., per Mr. J. Mackay, 10 Bute 

Mansions, Glasgow. 
Middlemore, Thomas, Esqr. of Melsetter, Orkney. 
Miller, Principal Wm., C.I.E., LL.D., Christian College, Madras, 

Morgan, Arthur, Esqr., S.S.C., 1 Glengyle Terrace, Edinburgh. 


Morgan, Roderick, Esqr., Sohoolhouse, Spittal, Caithness. 

Morrison, Hew, LL.D., Public Library, Edinburgh. 

Morrison, John, Esqr., factor, House of Tongue, Tongue. 

Munro, Rev. Donald, F.C. Manse, Ferintosh, Ross. 

Munro, Dr. James, Barnard Castle, Durham. 

Murdoch-Lawrance, Robert, Esqr., 71 Bon-Acord St., Aberdeen. 

Murray, Mrs. of Geanies, Fearn, Ross. 

Murray, T. M., Esqr., W.S., 9 Buckingham Terrace, Edinburgh. 

Murray, Win, Esqr., 118 Pall Mall, London. 

Murray, Win., Esqr., Kilmun, via Greenock. 

Nicol, Hugh, Esq., Box 27, Stratford, Ont., Canada. 

Noble, J. Campbell, Esqr., R.S.A., 12 Nelson St., Edinburgh. 

Oliver & Boyd, publishers, Edinburgh. 

Parmellce, Charles A. M., Esqr., Gambicr, Ohio, U.S.A. 

Pilkington, Thomas, Esqr., Sandside House, Caithness. 

Pope, Miss Roberta, 30 Colville Square, Bayswater, London. 

Purves, Wm., Esqr., Thurdistoft, Caithness. 

Reay, Lord, G.C.S.I., LL.D., 6 Great Stanhope St., Mayfair, 

London. (3 copies.) 
Ritchie, Mrs. Anna Mackay, Bellevue, Busby, Renfrewshire. 
Ritchie, Rev. John, The Manse, Halkirk. 
Robertson, Rev. William G., U.F. Manse, Watten, Caithness. 
Robson, A. Mackay, Esqr., 46 London St., Edinburgh. 
Rosebery, The Earl of, K.G., LL.D., 38 Berkeley Square, London. 
Sinclair, Mrs. John, Grangemouth. 
Sinclair, The Hon. Norman, 12 Palace Gardens Terrace, Kensington, 

Sinclair, Sir John R. G., Bart., of Dunbeath, Caithness. 
Sinclair, Sir Tollemache, Bart., Thurso. 
Slater, Mrs. Mackay, Springvalley House, Morningside Rd., 

Sutherland, Alex., Esqr., Prestonkirk, East Linton. 
Sutherland, Rev. George, U.F. Manse, Craignure, Mull. 


Sutherland, Jas. ; Esqr., Nabonne Ave., Clapham Common, London. 

Sutherland, Jas. Mead, Esqr., solicitor, Sutton, Surrey. 

Suverkrop, Miss E. A., Symonds, Herefordshire, per Mr. J. Mackay, 

Swanson, Mrs. Roberta, 13 Princes St., Thurso. 
Tait, Wm. Mackay, Esqr., 10 Wedderbura Rd., Hampstead, London. 
Telford, Donald Macleod, Esqr., Winnipeg, Canada. 
Telford, Rev. W. Hall, U.F. Manse, Reston. 
Turubull, Catherine G., Lodgehill, Nairn. 
Webster, Captain Jas., shipmaster, Heathfield, Helensburgh. 
Whited, Duncan Cromartie, Esqr., Chadbourn, N.C., U.S.A. 
Wilson, D. Mackay, Esqr., c/o Natal Bank, Johannesburgh, S. 

Young, J. A., Esqr., Osterley Court, Osterley, via Ilesworth, 

Received late : — - 
Mackay, John, Esqr., Clover Creek, via Bourke, N.S.W. 



Printed by William Rae, Wick